Deaths related to Prescription Drug Overdoses Continue to Rise

September 21, 2010

DECATUR - As a result of an analysis of autopsies performed by the GBI Medical Examiner's Office in which drug overdose was the cause of death or a significant contributing factor in the death, it was found that of the 670 drug overdose deaths in 2009, 584 involved prescription drugs or a combination of prescription and illicit drugs.  There were 508 drug overdose deaths in Georgia in 2009 which involved prescription drugs and eighty-six (86) drug overdose deaths involved illicit drugs. Seventy-six (76) deaths are attributed to a combination of both prescription and illicit drugs for calendar year 2009.

These statistics do NOT include autopsies performed by medical examiners in Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Henry, Hall or Rockdale Counties.

 

Deaths from:

2008

2009

Illicit Drugs only

95

86

Rx Only

496

508

Combination
Rx & Illicit

47

76

Total Overdose Deaths

638

670

 

In 2008, there were 638 drug overdose deaths in Georgia. Of that total,  496 deaths involved prescriptions drugs only, forty-seven (47) involved a combination of prescription and illicit drugs and ninety-five (95) involved illicit drugs only.

For overdose drug deaths in 2009, the drugs found through toxicology tests in the highest numbers were as follows:

Alprazolam: 219
Methadone: 184
Hydrocodone: 141
Oxycodone: 138

Cocaine: 106

For those deaths involving prescription drugs or a combo of Rx and illicit, the numbers per age range for 2009 were as follows:

15 or younger: 4
15 - 24: 45
25 - 34: 125
35 - 44: 182
45 - 54: 221
55 - 64: 80
64 or older: 13

A breakdown by race and sex for 2009 prescription drug overdose death follows:

608 White decedents,
60 Black,
2 Asian
 

294 females
376 males

The manner of death for 2009 prescription drug overdose death follows:

accident - 595
suicide - 60
undetermined - 15

 

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Contact Information: 
John Bankhead - 404-270-8330