District 4 Public Health is forming an Opioid Coalition for youths, adults, schools, first responders, hospitals and other community partners to create a local plan to prevent opioid abuse.
Opioid abuse has led to a crisis across the nation and in the region. From May 2020 to April 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 100,000 overdose deaths, a 29 percent increase compared to the previous year.
“Of those deaths, 67 percent involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl,” according to a statement released by District 4 Public Health, of which Coweta County is a part. “In District 4, overdose deaths involving fentanyl increased from 2019 to 2021 by 218.4 percent.”
The harm affects all ethnic groups and ages. According to statistics from Georgia’s Drug Surveillance Unit, the number of opioid overdose deaths among youths aged 10 to 19 increased from 11 in 2019 to 37 in 2021. The increase of overdose deaths among white Georgians was 131 percent from 2019 to 2021; among Black Georgians it was 175 percent and among Hispanic/Latino Georgians it was 150 percent.
District 4 Public Health is trying to address this opioid crisis head-on by developing “actionable steps toward preventing substance misuse or abuse among youth; enhancing the capacity for harm reduction among adults; improving treatment access and retention; and improving health outcomes for affected individuals, families and communities,” according to the statement.