The number of opioid-related deaths in Georgia increased sharply in 2020. Walker County had the third-highest increase in Georgia’s Northwest Health District, with 14 deaths. The 10-County Northwest Georgia region reported a total of 116 opioid deaths last year.
State data now shows that deaths linked to pain-relieving drugs have continued to increase in recent years, particularly in Northwest Georgia, where the rate of opioid-related deaths is as high as twice the state average.
While reasons for the sudden increase in opioid-related deaths in the region have not been identified specifically, the health department’s Drug Surveillance Unit has noted that the misuse of illicit opioids, particularly fentanyl, has been a driving factor since 2013.