Deaths Related to Prescription Drug Overdoses Decrease Overall in 2018

 

Decatur, GA (January 24, 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%

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