AUGUSTA, Ga. – Cases of drug overdoses have risen a concerning amount just in the past six months in the Augusta area alone. Public health officials have associated it with counterfeit pills.
District Program Manger for East Central Health District, Jonathan Adriano, says since October 14, 2020 to April 14, 2021, there have been 653 drug overdoses in the Augusta Area.
They say they’ve seen a cluster of overdoses dating back to this past January, going into the middle of March, where they’ve seen an increase of overdoses showing up at the hospitals.
“It’s hard right, if it was easy, we would have fixed it by now.” Adriano says fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine have been found in these new counterfeit drugs.
“These pressed pills look exactly like prescription pills, down to the size, color and the font and writing on them. To the naked eye, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish them from prescription drugs but upon testing, they have all different kinds of drugs in them,” he says.
These particular batches are even more dangerous because the buyer doesn’t know that’s what they’re getting. “It can be very dangerous. It ends up being, you think you’re buying Xanax and you end up buying Fentanyl. That could kill you in one event.”
He says they’re looking at a cluster of 100 opioid overdose cases in the past 2 months, just in Richmond County alone. “It never gets down to a zero number, but 100 for us in 2 months is a pretty unusually high increase.”
He is urging you to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling. “Those folks who know people who use these drugs, if they’re around them and have an overdose, please don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 to get them help. We want to help, we want to save lives.”