Strategies for Battling the Opioid Epidemic
More and more Georgians are dying of drug overdoses. Drug overdoses have become a growing epidemic both in Georgia and nationally, increasing to skyrocketing rates since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports from 2019-2021, the total number of opioid-related overdose deaths increased from 853 to 1,718, an increase of 101%. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that nearly 100,000 people die in this country every year due to drug overdose. Drug overdose deaths rose by 30% nationally during the pandemic. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid often found in drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and counterfeit pills has driven most of the rise in deaths. From 2019 to 2021, fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths increased 124%, from 614 to 1,379. Non-fatal drug overdoses are also increasing in Georgia. From 2019 to 2021, emergency department visits and hospitalizations for drug overdoses increased 10%, from 24,886 to 27,388.
The opioid crisis is a complex issue that requires a multi-pronged approach to tackle. Some new approaches are being implemented to battle this epidemic.
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)