The opioid crisis gained recognition as a national public health emergency in 2017. In the years since, it has unfortunately not seen much improvement. However, states work hard within their own borders to help decrease the amount of users and the number of overdose deaths caused by these highly addictive substances.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, in 2017, about two-thirds of deaths from drug overdoses were due to opioids, amounting to over 1,000 total. Part of the reason why opioid addiction is such a huge issue is because it does not exist solely as a street drug; opioids are frequently prescribed as medication to manage pain. While they were previously relatively easy to get ahold of, the state has since put programs in place to make acquiring them more difficult in order to lower overdose and addiction rates.
Monitoring and response programs
The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) aims to watch over the prescribing of opioids by doctors. The goal is to help identify potential abuses and to control the ability of doctors to prescribe these medications. It also enables a database of those receiving these prescriptions to help prevent doctor shopping, a term for when individuals go to multiple doctors to get the same prescription in an attempt to stock up on pills.
Opioid and Substance Misuse Response is another effort to help the government respond to the problem with opioid use in the state. It helps with strategic planning, including creating initiatives and workgroups.
The Drug Surveillance Unit tracks overdoses. It looks for clusters and trends to help target government and law enforcement response to the areas where it is most needed.
The PDMP integration campaign works with the PDMP to help monitor electronic health records. The campaign oversees these records to stay on top of prescriptions and patients who may be at risk.