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The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Drug Surveillance Unit (DSU) has detected alarming increases in drug overdose deaths among adolescents in Georgia. Please see the key findings below and the attached report containing detailed data. The report is also available on the DSU website.
Drug overdoses have been increasing nationally and in Georgia in recent years, driven largely by the presence of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in the drug supply. In Georgia, from 2019 to 2021, fentanyl overdose deaths increased by 230%. Among adolescents (persons aged 10-19 years), fentanyl-involved overdose deaths rose 800% in the same time period. The proportion of adolescent overdose deaths involving fentanyl rose from 25% to 80%.
Despite these alarming increases, adolescents often lack critical information about the risks and prevalence of fentanyl, especially in counterfeit pills. These findings underscore the need for greater awareness and education around the dangers of fentanyl and its increasing presence in the illicit drug supply.