Did you know that over 130 people die from opioid overdose in the U.S. each day? Cobb and Douglas Counties are not immune to this crisis, having seen a frightening spike of overdose deaths in the last several years.

Opioids are drugs used to dull the sensation of pain. They run the gamut from the illegal drug heroin to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl to pain relievers available by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine and morphine. Opioids produce a sense of wellbeing that can be additive and lead to accidental overdose, causing permanent organ damage or even death.

CDPH recommends following the guidelines below to help prevent opioid misuse and addiction:

  • Always follow the prescribed directions.
  • Never take more than the prescribed dose.
  • If you miss a dose, do not take a double dose to catch up.
  • Do not combine opioids with alcohol.
  • Do not combine opioids with other medications without your doctor’s approval.
  • Stop taking opioid medications as soon as your doctor agrees they are no longer needed.
  • Never use another person’s prescription or share your prescription with others.

In addition to the guidelines above, always remember:

  • Use opioid medication only in the form in which it was prescribed.
  • When taking liquid opioid doses, be sure to use an accurate measuring device and only measure out the prescribed amount.
  • Never drive a car or operate heavy machinery while taking opioids.

To learn more, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

Forum to Address the Opioid Crisis
County and public health officials have joined forces to address the local opioid crisis in Cobb County. The first county-wide forum was held on January 27 at Jim R. Miller Park. The focus of this meeting was for local leaders to learn more about the Cobb County opioid prevention and response model. More than 80 partners attended the meeting, including government officials, healthcare providers, law enforcement, first responders, and victim advocates.

Cobb County officials from the District Attorney’s Office and Cobb & Douglas Public Health recently visited U.S. counties with proven opioid prevention and response programs and brought the successful framework of these programs back to Cobb County. Some of the areas of focus will include:

  • hospitals and emergency centers,
  • families and the directly affected,
  • opioid providers,
  • naloxone access,
  • law enforcement & judicial,
  • community education and prevention, and
  • assessment, treatment, and recovery.

According to data from Cobb & Douglas Public Health, opioid-involved overdose deaths have been rapidly increasing in Georgia since 2010, driven largely by increased use and misuse of prescription opioids (e.g., Oxycodone and Hydrocodone). Of Georgia’s counties, Cobb had the highest number of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017 and the second highest in 2018.

To get involved with future opioid meetings in Cobb County, email: CobbOpioidTaskforce@dph.ga.gov.

*To safely dispose of your unused, unwanted or expired medication, visit nearby drop locations.

In the News:
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) has launched its “Save Lives, Co-Prescribe Naloxone” campaign in partnership with DPH and the “Think About It” Campaign. This campaign features social media advertisements and an upcoming Top Docs Radio discussion on the importance of naloxone.