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Deaths related to Prescription Drug Overdoses Continue to Rise

Deaths related to Prescription Drug Overdoses Continue to Rise

July 21, 2011

DECATUR –An analysis of autopsies performed by the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in 152 counties which drug overdose was the cause of deathor a significant contributing factor in the death found there was a 10% increase in the number of prescription overdose deaths in 2010 compared to 2009. 

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

Of the 729 drug overdose deaths in 2010, there were 560 deaths which involved only prescription drugs.  The analysis also showed that 101 drug overdose deaths in 2010 involved only illicit drugs and sixty-eight (68) deaths were attributed to a combination of both prescription and illicit drugs.

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


Deaths from:

2008

2009

2010

Rx Only

496

508

560

Illicit Drugs only

95

86

101

Combination
Rx & Illicit

47

76

68

Total Overdose Deaths

638

670

729


For overdose drug deaths in 2010, the drugs found through toxicology tests in the highest numbers were as follows:


Drug

Number

Alprazolam (For anxiety, Xanax)

231

Oxycodone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

171

Methadone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

151

Hydrocodone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

145

Cocaine (Stimulant, Illicit)

96

Morphine (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

87

Fentanyl (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

78

Methamphetamine (Stimulant, Illicit)

65

Diazepam (For anxiety, Valium)

55

Diphenhydramine (Antihistamine, Benadryl)

55

     

 

These are just the top 10 of the eighty-six (86) different drugs found in toxicology tests run on the 729 total overdose deaths.  There were on average 2.5 drugs found for each death (1827 instances of the 86 different drugs found in the 729 deaths). 

For all drug deaths, the numbers per age range for 2010 were as follows:

15 or younger: 5

15 – 24: 80

25 – 34: 115

35 – 44: 180

45 – 54: 226

55 – 64: 106

64 or older: 17

A breakdown by race and sex for 2010 for all drug overdose death follows:

White - 658 or 90.26%
Black - 64 or 8.78%
Hispanic - 7 or 0.96%

Females - 302 or 41.43%
Males - 427 or 58.57

A breakdown on the manner of death for 2010 drug overdose deaths:


Accidental

646

88.61%

Suicide

68

9.33%

Undetermined

15

2.06%


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Please note: We do not have a county by county breakdown of these statistics.

 

Contact Information: 
John Bankhead - 404-270-8330