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What Is The Atlanta Opioid Epidemic?

The Atlanta opioid epidemic is wreaking havoc across the city, just as it is in communities across the country. The ripple effects of opioid addiction can be far-reaching, touching the lives of family and friends as well as the person who is struggling with the drug.

The number of people in Atlanta who find themselves in the grips of opioid addiction is astronomical and the devastation that occurs changes the lives of everyone involved. Having proper support and care can make a huge difference in the outcome of the situation. 

Understanding the Atlanta Opioid Epidemic

The opioid problem in Atlanta is a significant public health crisis. Due to the availability of prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the city has seen spikes in opioid-related overdoses, much like much of the nation has.

Contributing factors to this epidemic include overprescription of opioid medications, economic hardships, as well as lack of resources for mental health and addiction treatments. The area known as the “Heroin Triangle” is particularly affected by this crisis. It is crucial to increase public awareness, improve access to addiction treatment, and law enforcement disrupting the supply of these illegal substances to curb the impact.

Uncovering the Heroin Triangle

The Heroin Triangle in Atlanta refers to communities within Cobb, Fulton, and Gwinett counties. Affluent suburbs north of Atlanta, particular, are affected but they are not the only ones being touched by the effects of heroin.

The spotlight on the heroin triangle from the media began in the early 2010s when a crackdown on overprescription of opioid painkillers began. This restricted availability of these drugs caused people to resort to heroin as a cheaper, easily accessible alternative to prescription opioids. 

Is it Still Relevant?

The opioid crisis in Atlanta is still very much relevant, as is the heroin triangle. The communities within the triangle are still greatly affected by Georgia’s opioid crisis. Despite the decline in media coverage, the problem is still alive and well, leaving a path of devastation in its wake. The communities still struggle due to the availability of heroin and fentanyl being introduced in more recent years. 

Georgia’s Opioid Crisis: Facts and Figures

Georgia’s opioid crisis is a public health problem, affecting communities across the state. Healthcare systems are getting overwhelmed with cases of addiction and overdoses, increasing emergency room visits. Criminal activity linked to drug use has increased significantly, as have overdoses.

According to Georgia’s Department of Public Health, from 2019 to 2021, opioid-related deaths had an increase of 101%. Fentanyl introduction was a largely significant factor in this increase. 

Recent Opioid Problems in Atlanta

Atlanta’s opioid epidemic is still very prominent today. The availability of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, as well as heroin and prescription opioids, contributes to the ongoing opioid problem in Atlanta. Fentanyl is often mixed with other substances like cocaine and heroin and then, both knowingly and unknowingly, people use these substances. Fentanyl is extremely potent, and minimal amounts can lead to deadly results. 

Opioid Crisis Update

As an opioid crisis update, the heroin triangle in Atlanta is still a major hotspot for opioid misuse and addiction. Opioid overdose and overdose deaths are still prominent in Atlanta.

There are ongoing efforts to combat this crisis, including increased surveillance, increased access to naloxone (an overdose reversal drug), and increased community education as well as access to treatment. 

The Opioid Treatment Process

To combat the Atlanta opioid epidemic, it is crucial to understand that there are options available to receive much-needed treatment. The treatment process begins with detox. Removing the substances from the system is an integral part of recovery. During the detoxification process, individuals have access to professional medical care, nursing staff, and mental health professionals to aid in the process.

Fentanyl, heroin, and other opioids are highly addictive substances, binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. They change the brain’s chemistry and dopamine production. Returning to normal brain function can be challenging.

Having these professionals available helps. From there, proven and effective therapies can be used, in conjunction with medications, to help alleviate cravings, manage depression and anxiety, and implement healthy coping skills. 

Signs of Opioid Overdose

Knowledge of potential signs of opioid overdose is crucial. The Atlanta opioid crisis is contributing to spikes in overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal. The signs to look out for include severe drowsiness, labored breathing, pinpoint pupils, gray or blue skin tone, weak pulse, and unresponsiveness. Immediate medical attention is necessary to prevent fatal results. 

Fatal and Non-Fatal Overdoses

Overdoses aren’t always fatal. Sometimes, medical intervention can help to reverse overdose and give the individual a chance to live a healthy life. Other times, the person isn’t so lucky. With the availability of naloxone, the number of individuals who are saved from fatality has increased due to this drug’s capability of reversing the effects of opioids.

However, despite the non-fatal level of overdose, individuals may still experience life-changing consequences. Brain damage from lack of oxygen, muscle weakness, and organ damage can still occur, even when the overdose is non-fatal.

Free Yourself and Get Help for Opioid Addiction

Opioids are dangerous substances that, despite medical uses, wreak havoc on the lives of individuals who are struggling. The path of complete devastation can be far-reaching, affecting loved ones as well. There is help for those who are struggling to find relief and healing. If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help. At Empowered Recovery Center, we offer care in a safe and healing environment where individuals can begin their recovery journey.

Call us today and begin your journey. 

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    Marietta, GA 30066

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