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Painkiller Abuse Rates in Georgia

Georgia has a painkiller abuse crisis. While drug use across the board has been rising, no drug category has seen a rapid increase like that of opioids. Nationwide, opioid usage has been climbing since their introduction to pharmacies in the 90s, but now the synthetic, non-prescription market crawls with extremely potent, equally fatal drugs.

In 2021, drug overdose deaths crossed 100,000 in a 12-month period ranging from April 2020 to April 2021. According to the CDC, this was largely due to the uptick in opioid usage, with fentanyl as a leading cause of overdose. Deaths by overdose that involved opioids rose from 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021—a 15.4% increase. Georgia has been hit equally hard as nearly every other state, with an estimated 1,718 deaths from opioid overdose compared to 1,300 the year before.1

Bringing this crisis to a halt is the goal of tens of thousands of Georgians, but it requires individuals to make changes in their lives too. If you or someone you love is currently at risk of an opioid overdose, seek out an opioid addiction treatment program in Georgia today. Footprints Beachside Recovery provides a quality, personalized opioid addiction treatment program suited for any individual’s needs. Learn more about the benefits of opioid addiction treatment today by calling 727.513.5972 and speaking to our team of specialists.

The Rise of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drugs are just like any other drug insofar as they function by altering the brain’s chemistry with an intended effect. The difference is prescription drugs are subject to rigorous oversight, distribution constraints, and testing. They are made accessible because their effect is beneficial, and their side effects are believed to be minimal.

However, this process is not without its faults. For a number of reasons, drugs with extremely high addictive potential can make it onto the market and cement a foothold in the secondhand drug market. Prescription drugs have been flooding illegal distribution practices for decades, and it has grown more severe since the turn of the century.

Opioids and the Synthetic Market

This was notably the case for opioids, a synthetic type of opiate drug used predominantly for pain relief purposes. Opioids are currently the leading cause of painkiller abuse. Pharmacists make an effort to dissuade patients from exceeding their prescriptions, but opioids are highly addictive. Opioid addiction can develop within weeks, and many who receive a short prescription will turn to other sources, including off-market substitutes, to relieve chronic pain once their allotted medication runs dry.

Opioids are a categorical description rather than a singular drug, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Diacetylmorphine (Heroin)
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone

The availability and legal status of each opioid differ from one another, notably heroin and fentanyl, which have little to no medical application. Fentanyl is also entirely synthetic and is routinely produced with the sole intention of selling into criminal marketplaces. Fentanyl, while far from the cause of most drug overdose deaths, has a fatality rate comparatively higher than other common illegal drugs, including all other opioids.

Prevent Opioid Overdoses with Footprints Beachside Recovery

The opioid crisis is bigger than any one of us. It’s hard to say how, or even if it can be solved, but one thing that is within the scope of every individual in Georgia is caring for their loved ones. If you know someone struggling with opioid addiction, and it’s clear that they need outside help, Footprints Beachside Recovery is here. In our treatment plan, patients can safely detox from opioid use and do so in a comfortable environment.  Contact us at 727.513.5972 today to learn how our opioid addiction treatment program targets the acute difficulties of painkiller abuse.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021) – Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S. Top 100,000 Annually