Fentanyl-related overdoses surge in Savannah, rest of state – The Current GA

Get past the headlines: Sign up for our newsletters focused on Coastal Georgia, its unique environment, politics and more.
Have observations from The Current delivered Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday to your inbox. Sign up now.

By clicking subscribe you agree to share your email address with The Current and Mailchimp to receive marketing, updates, and other emails from the site owner. Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.

The Current
In-Depth Journalism for Coastal Georgia
Illegal drugs laced with fentanyl have caused a surge of overdoses recently in Georgia, state health officials say.
Over the last two months, at least 66 emergency room visits in the state involved the use of cocaine, methamphetamines, counterfeit pills or other drugs likely containing fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid that can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.
The overdoses have also involved fentanyl contained in crack, heroin, painkillers and marijuana, said the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Fentanyl (rhymes with sentinel) is mostly being smuggled into this country from China and Mexico.
One area seeing a fentanyl-related overdose uptick is Savannah. Dr. Jay Goldstein, medical director of the emergency department at Memorial Health, said Friday that many habitual drug users who have overdosed reported being surprised at the effect of the substance they took.
“They’re getting a bigger [narcotic] effect than they expected,” Goldstein told GHN. That includes teenagers who are experimenting with drugs, he said.
“I don’t think they believe they’re getting fentanyl,’’ he added.
Public Health officials emphasize:
Naloxone, a drug to reverse the effects of overdoses, has become more available to authorities and the general public in recent years. The drug works very well in saving overdose victims, Goldstein said. “It’s an amazing reversal.’’
Want to see more in-depth journalism for Savannah and Coastal Georgia?
Have The Current delivered to your inbox each Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday.

By clicking submit, you agree to share your email address with the site owner and Mailchimp to receive marketing, updates, and other emails from the site owner. Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.
Just this week, law enforcement officials reported seizing 65 kilos of meth, 1 kilo of heroin, and a quarter-kilo of fentanyl in Gwinnett County. The seizure involved the Gwinnett Sheriff’s Office, ATF Atlanta, Homeland Security Investigations and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The GBI Gang Task Force said the fentanyl seized represented 125,000 lethal doses, the AJC reported.
A spokeswoman for the GBI, Nelly Miles, said the agency is seeing “a significant increase’’ in fentanyl, as well as a rise in overdose clusters, opioid-related deaths, and seizures of fentanyl.
“In the crime lab alone, the lab has seen an 80% increase of fentanyl results in the last year,’’ Miles said. “We’ve also seen a disturbing trend of samples called ‘purple heroin/purp’ that contains heroin and fentanyl.”
A national study published Thursday said that law enforcement seizures of pills containing illicit fentanyl increased nearly 50-fold from the first quarter of 2018 to the last quarter of 2021.
“This is a national phenomenon,’’ said Hannah Cooper, the Rollins chair of Substance Use Disorders Research at Emory University.
Fentanyl is used in producing these substances in order to reduce the amount of the more expensive drug, such as heroin, that the dealer is selling. “It comes down to efforts by manufacturers and dealers to cut costs,’’ she said.
Over the past few years, it’s been mixed with stimulants such as cocaine and meth, Cooper added.
Fentanyl-related overdose deaths have been increasing in Georgia since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021, fentanyl-involved overdose deaths jumped more than 100 percent as compared with the previous time period, Public Health said.
Cooper said that harm-reduction strategies can stem the tide of overdoses and deaths.
These tactics include making fentanyl-testing strips – which can detect the substance in a drug product – more available, as well as Naloxone (Narcan). Another strategy is to improve access to effective drug treatment services, Cooper added.
This story available through a news partnership with Georgia Health News.
Andy Miller is the founder of Georgia Health News, a nonprofit news site dedicated to reporting on health policy for Georgia’s citizens.
Comments are closed.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
by The Current, The Current
April 2, 2022
This <a target=”_blank” href=”https://thecurrentga.org/2022/04/02/fentanyl-related-overdoses-surge-in-savannah-rest-of-state/”>article</a> first appeared on <a target=”_blank” href=”https://thecurrentga.org”>The Current</a> and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.<img src=”https://i0.wp.com/thecurrentga.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/cropped-TheCurrent_site-icon.png?fit=150%2C150&amp;ssl=1″ style=”width:1em;height:1em;margin-left:10px;”><img id=”republication-tracker-tool-source” src=”https://thecurrentga.org/?republication-pixel=true&post=20716&ga=UA-178010913-1″ style=”width:1px;height:1px;”>
To provide non-partisan, solutions-based investigative journalism without bias, fear or favor with clear focus on issues affecting Savannah and Coastal Georgia
Learn More


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *