The opioid crisis has hit hard across the United States, affecting the lives of thousands of people and their families. Our own community in the Greater Atlanta region has been impacted by opiate addiction with a rise in opiate abuse and in substance abuse related deaths. As the opioid crisis continues to grow, Georgia is taking steps to fight back against this epidemic.
The Opioid Epidemic in Georgia
According to A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, Georgia had 918 overdose deaths from opioids in 2016 and 1,394 drug overdose deaths overall.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of the drugs causing the most damage is methamphetamine, a drug that lawmakers actually successfully fought against in the 2000s. This drug is now back and more dangerous than ever, killing more people in America today than in the 2000s. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have calculated that deaths related to stimulants like meth are up nationwide by more than 250% from 2005-2015.
In Georgia, meth-related deaths have increased every year since 2010, and the metro Atlanta area is seeing a jump in users and an increase in deaths due to meth. Partially because metro-Atlanta is home to most of the state’s conversion labs.
Some of the places that have been hit the hardest are the northern Atlanta suburbs and Cobb County, in particular due to prescription opioids. Access to healthcare and these prescriptions may be causing the spike in overdose deaths and a significant increase in prescription drug abuse. As a result, quality of life is decreasing in these areas, and many families have been devastated by the disease of addiction.
While the physical and emotional damage of addiction are painful enough, there are also financial repercussions that come along with addiction that can affect both the addict and their families. Drugs such as heroin and the subsequent expenses they incur such as legal fees, damage to a car or vehicle, time off work or not being able to work have drained savings, ravaged retirement plans and pushed homeowners into foreclosure.
Georgia Takes Action Against Opioids
Recently, Georgia has been making efforts to eliminate overdoses and protect citizens. It has been one of 13 states recognized by the National Safety Council and given their highest marks. This is an improvement, since in 2016 Georgia was given a “failing” designation, which has now been changed to “improving” regarding the opioid crisis. This new report was released the same week as the National Rx Drug and Heroin Summit held in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Safety Council recommended 6 crucial actions states should take to make a significant impact on the opioid epidemic:
2. Implement opioid prescribing guidelines
3. Integrate Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs into clinical settings
4. Improve data collection and sharing
5. Treat opioid overdose
6. Increase availability of opioid use disorder treatment
Georgia met all of these guidelines, except for improving data collection. Only two states, Nevada and New Mexico, met all six.
Georgia remains committed to improving public health and helping to lead the fight against the opioid epidemic, especially in Atlanta, to help the community heal.
Finding Safe Addiction Treatment
New Day Treatment Center joins Georgia in this fight and strives to provide safe and effective opiate addiction treatment. We can help you or your loved ones achieve recovery. Call us today to learn about how opiate addiction treatment can help heal your family.
Bagby, Diana. “Opioid epidemic summit explores solutions.” Reporter Newspapers, 14 May 2018, www.reporternewspapers.net/2018/05/14/opioid-epidemic-summit-explores-solutions/.
Hart, Ariel, and Meris Lutz. “Opioids feed surge in Atlanta region’s fatal overdoses.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1 May, 2018, politics.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/opioids-feed-surge-atlanta-region-fatal-overdoses/XBDj00D8BHQIdRuyEYBRiL/.
Kanell, Michael. “Opioid Epidemic Wreaks Financial Havoc in Atlanta Suburbs.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1 Sept. 2017, www.myajc.com/business/opioid-epidemic-wreaks-financial-havoc-atlanta-suburbs/Hd3lmGSMG3NDXjL90pmhwM/.
Miller, Andy. “Georgia Ranked In Top Tier For Action Against Opioid Abuse.” Georgia Health News, 5 Apr. 2018, www.wabe.org/georgia-ranked-top-tier-action-opioid-abuse/.
Sharpe, Joshua. “Meth, ‘the Devil’s drug,’ is back and killing more people than ever.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3 July 2018, www.ajc.com/news/meth-the-devil-drug-back-and-killing-more-people-than-ever/sjs9kSaof8vMkGFwEAVvUO/.