Drug overdoses on the rise in Dougherty Co.

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – Drug overdoses, specifically opioids, are on the rise across Dougherty County.

Health department officials said Dougherty County is expected to have more drug overdose deaths than last year.

dr Charles Ruis, director of public health services, said last year, there were 38 overdose deaths in Dougherty County. This year, through July, there have already been 29.

“Between 2019 and 2021, the number of overdose deaths in Georgia has gone up 70%. From 1,390 to 2,390,” Ruis said.

Ruis said commonly misused drugs involved in overdoses include prescription medications including but not limited to antipsychotic or mood-altering drugs and tranquilizers. Nonprescription drugs like heroin and fentanyl are the biggest threats.

“An overdose of a stimulant drug may look quite different compared to an overdose of a sedative drug,” he said.

Ruis said witnesses will notice these few things.

“Clinically what a person would observe is a person who has overdosed on a narcotic drug would become less active, lethargic,” Ruis said. “They may become non-responsive. Heavily sedated. Their breathing may diminish or they may stop breathing.”

If someone witnesses an overdose, they should not be scared to call for help. Within recent years, Georgia has created an amnesty law which protects those seeking medical attention due to an overdose or witnesses.

The law provides limited liability for small amounts of drugs or alcohol. But does not protect those breaching slogans, restraining orders, probations or other violations.

People can get free Naloxone or Narcan at the Dougherty County Health Department on Wednesdays from 1-5p.m.

If you or someone you know are experiencing drug abuse issues, the number for the Georgia Crisis and access line is (800) 715-4225.

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