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Deaths Related to Prescription Drug Overdoses Increase Slightly in 2012

Deaths Related to Prescription Drug Overdoses Increase Slightly in 2012

August 8, 2013

Decatur, GA  – 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 a 3% increase in the number of prescription overdose deaths in 2012 compared to 2011. 

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

Of the 686 drug overdose deaths in 2012, there were 520 deaths which involved prescription drugs only.  The analysis also showed that 94 drug overdose deaths in 2012 involved only illicit drugs and 72 deaths were attributed to a combination of both prescription and illicit drugs.

In 2012, 520 of the 686 overdose deaths were attributed to prescription drugs only.

Deaths from:

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Rx Only

496

508

560

512

520

Illicit Drugs Only

95

86

101

82

94

Combination Rx and Illicit

47

76

68

70

72

Total Overdose Deaths

638

670

729

664

686

 

For overdose drug deaths in 2012, the drugs found through toxicology tests in the highest numbers were as follows:

Drug

Number

Alprazolam (For anxiety, Xanax)

222

Oxycodone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

175

Methadone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

170

Hydrocodone (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

125

Cocaine (Stimulant, Illicit)

82

Morphine (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

78

Methamphetamine (Stimulant, Illicit)

70

Fentanyl (Narcotic Pain Reliever)

67

Citalopram (For anxiety, Celexa)

55

Diazepam (For anxiety, Valium)

47

Diphenhydramine (Antihistamine, Benadryl)

47

 

These are the top 11 of the 82 different drugs found in toxicology tests run on the 686 total overdose deaths.  There were on average 2.6 drugs found for each death (1783 instances of the 82 different drugs found in the 686 deaths). 

For all drug deaths, the numbers per age range for 2012 were as follows:

Age

Number of Deaths

Younger than 15

0

15-24

37

25-34

134

35-44

195

45-54

200

55-64

104

Older than 64

16

 

A breakdown by race and sex for 2012 for all drug overdose deaths follows:

Race

Number of Deaths

Percentage

White

626

91.25%

Black

58

8.45%

Asian

1

0.15%

Indian

1

0.15%

 

 

Gender

Number of Deaths

Percentage

Male

373

54.4%

Female

313

45.6%

 

A breakdown on the manner of death for 2012 drug overdose deaths follows:

Manner of Death

Number of Deaths

Percentage

Accidental

616

89.8%

Suicide

60

8.7%

Undetermined

10

1.5%

 

 

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Please note: The GBI does not have a county by county breakdown of these statistics.

Contact Information: 
Sherry Lang 404/270-8330