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Fentanyl-related deaths on the rise in the Peach State

Published: May. 6, 2021 at 10:16 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Data from the Georgia Department of Health shows a spike in opioid-related deaths across the Peach State and the Fountain City might be one of the newest hot spots.

There’s been an opioid crisis for nearly 20 years, and data from the Georgia Department of Health suggests the pandemic hasn’t made it any better. More and more people are dying from Fentanyl overdoses.

“When you look, opioid overdose deaths increased 58.3-percent,” said Cheryl Kolb, Public Health Educator with the Health Department. “Fentanyl overdose deaths increased by 160.9%. That’s 160. 1-6-0.”

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan tells News Leader 9, 56 people died from overdose in Muscogee County and so far, the number sits at 14 for the year. According to Bryan, all cases were linked to Fentanyl overdose.

Kolb believes part of the reason we’re seeing an uptick in Fentanyl overdoses across the state is because people are lacing them with drugs like cocaine, marijuana, and meth. Lately, we’re even seeing bootleg Percocet and Xanax pills laced with the synthetic pain killer.

“They look very suspicious. The color isn’t the same. If you have a pill you can look up the imprint online. The imprint might be the right number, but the wrong font. There’s just something off about it,” said Kolb. “Think about it, if that person was using meth for three days, or 6 days, now they’re also addicted to opioids, so they’re going through severe withdrawals that they’ve never had before. And they’re going to go back and buy more meth to keep from going through those withdrawals.”

For more information on resources in the Fountain City through the health department, click here.

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