GBI: Drug overdoses on the rise

ATLANTA — The number of people dying from drug overdoses in Georgia — whether it be prescription or illicit drugs or a mix of the two — is on the rise, according to a newly released GBI analysis.

The examination, which looked at autopsies that GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in 152 counties statewide performed, found a 10 percent increase in the number of prescription overdose deaths in 2010 when compared to 2009.

The analysis looked at deaths in which a drug overdose was the cause of death or a significant contributing factor in the death, the GBI said. Alprazolam, Oxycodone, Methadone, Hydrocodone and cocaine led to the most deaths, the analysis found. The vast majority — 88.6 percent — were accidental, while just 9.3 percent were suicides, the GBI found.

In 2010, 560 of the 729 drug overdose deaths — or 76.8 percent — involved only prescription drugs. The analysis also showed that 101 deaths — or 13.9 percent — resulted from the use of only illicit drugs; the remaining 68 deaths — or 9.3 percent — stemmed from a combination of both prescription and illicit drugs.

In 2009, 508 of the 670 overdose deaths were attributed to prescription drugs only. 

The statistics do not include autopsies performed by medical examiners in Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Henry, Hall or Rockdale counties, the GBI said.

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