Fentanyl deaths deaths in youth spike, study shows

Alarming numbers were recently released from the state health department on the number of drug-related overdoses.

According to a new report, there was an 800-percent spike in deaths from fentanyl-laced drugs in young people last year.

"So many teenagers are unaware of the risks and dangers despite the epidemic going on for a long time," epidemiologist Laura Edison said.

Georgia Department of Public Heath Epidemiologist Laura Edison says it’s all hands on deck to stop the number of fentanyl laced overdoses.

According to the state health department, the number of young people in Georgia who died from the potent drug, spiked by 800 percent in 2021 compared with the year before the pandemic.

The numbers are 3.7 times more than among adults.

"Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine," Edison described.

Doctors say fentanyl is odorless and tasteless.

"I think what has happened in teens in the last few years is that the fentanyl is infiltrated the street drug market," Edison said.

"A lot of times people think they are getting one thing and they are not and then they overdose," Erika Dalton said.

Dalton is the Executive Director of the Buckhead Behavioral Health and says many teens don’t realize the street drugs they experiment with might be laced.

"They just don’t know the dangers and the prevalence," Dalton said. "There were clients that checked in and they had candy bracelets like we had when we were kids and they were pressed with fentanyl. There were overdoses and everything."

Both experts agree that education is key in prevention.

"Here in Georgia, we recently made fentanyl test strips legal and working to distribute those. If you have those test strips, you can test the drug before you take it and see if the drug is in there," Edison said.

Those test strips aren’t yet available, but officials working on it.

If you are experiencing a drug-related crisis, the Department of Public Health has provided this number to call: 1-800-715-4225.