Decatur, GA (January 22, 2020) – An analysis of autopsies performed by the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in 152 counties in which drug overdose was the cause of death or significant contributing factor in the death has been completed. The analysis revealed prescription drug overdose deaths in 2018 were lower than the previous three years while the overdose deaths attributed to illicit drugs were higher than they have been during the same period.

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

Of the 861 drug overdose deaths in 2018, there were 303 deaths which involved prescription drugs only. The analysis also showed that 441 drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved illicit drugs only and 115 deaths are attributed to both prescription and illicit drugs.

Deaths from:

2015

2016

2017

2018

Rx Only

441

405

349

303

Illicit Only

219

271

383

441

Combination of Rx and Illicit

84

101

130

115

OTC

-

-

1

2

Total Deaths

774

777

863

861

For overdose drug deaths in 2018, the drugs found through toxicology tests in the highest numbers were as follows:

Drug:

 

Methamphetamine

304

Cocaine

144

Fentanyl/Analogues

138

Oxycodone

136

Alprazolam

129

Heroin

124

Gabapentin

99

Methadone

70

Morphine

60

Diphenhydramine

58

 

 

 

 

 For all the drug deaths, the number per age range for 2018 were as follows:

Age

Number of Deaths

<15

5

15-24

45

25-34

177

35-44

206

45-54

208

55-64

163

>64

                            54

Unreported

3

A breakdown by race and sex for 2018 for all drug overdose deaths follows:

Race

Number of Deaths

Percentage

White

720

83.62%

Black

125

14.52%

Hispanic

13

1.51%

Asian

2

0.02%

Gender

Number of Deaths

Percentage

Male

512

59.46%

Female

349

40.53%

 

A breakdown on the manner of death for 2018 drug overdose deaths follows:

 

Manner of Death

Number of Deaths

Percentage

 

 

 

Accidental

777

90.24%

Suicide

72

8.36%

Undetermined

12

1.39%

 

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

Contact Public Affairs Director

Nelly Miles