DECATUR – An analysis of autopsies performed by the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in 152 counties which drug overdose was the cause of death or a significant contributing factor in the death found there was an 8.6% decrease in the number of prescription overdose deaths in 2011 compared to 2010.  

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

Of the 664 drug overdose deaths in 2011, there were 512 deaths which involved only prescription drugs.  The analysis also showed that 82 drug overdose deaths in 2011 involved only illicit drugs and seventy (70) deaths were attributed to a combination of both prescription and illicit drugs.

In 2010, 560 of the 729 overdose deaths were attributed to prescription drugs only. 

Deaths from:2008200920102011
Rx Only496508560512
Illicit Drugs only958610182
Rx & Illicit
Total Overdose Deaths638670729664

For overdose drug deaths in 2011, the drugs found through toxicology tests in the highest numbers were as follows:

Alprazolam (For anxiety, Xanax)231
Oxycodone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)188
Methadone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)158
Hydrocodone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)133
Cocaine (Stimulant, Illicit)89
Fentanyl (Narcotic Pain Reliever)65
Morphine (Narcotic Pain Reliever)63
Diphenhydramine (Antihistamine, Benadryl)55
Methamphetamine (Stimulant, Illicit)51
Citalopram (For depression, Celexa)46

These are just the top 10 of the seventy-one (71) different drugs found in toxicology tests run on the 664 total overdose deaths.  There were on average 2.54 drugs found for each death (1686 instances of the 71 different drugs found in the 664 deaths).  

For all drug deaths, the numbers per age range for 2011 were as follows:

AgeNumber of deaths
15 or younger0
15 – 2459
25 – 34130
35 – 44169
45 – 54212
55 – 6481
64 or older13

A breakdown by race and sex for 2011 for all drug overdose death follows:

White 603 91%
Black 61 9%
Females 299 45%
Males 365 55%

A breakdown on the manner of death for 2011 drug overdose deaths:


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Contact Information:

John Bankhead – 404-270-8330