It was only a matter of time, but the time is now. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the trends for heroin overdose that have plagued the nation are right here in Georgia.
In a three year period ranging from 2011-2014, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab saw a spike by 300% for heroin testing alone. Twenty years prior, heroin was hardly on the map in Georgia, especially with regard to fatalities, but now those numbers for use and overdose are on the rise.
“In the past 20 years, we’d seen very little heroin. It would be a very sporadic thing,” Sgt. Kirk Graham of the Athens-Clarke County Drug Task Force said in an interview with OnlineAthens . “There’s been an increase in the last four or five years in the amount of heroin we see.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation cited just three heroin-related deaths in 2010. Three years later, that number was 32 and in 2014, 59.
The numbers are still among the lower ones in the United States.
Jason Salib of the Cobb County District Attorney’s office says the drug has reached suburbs as well, telling Online Athens that “[Cobb County] took more heroin in the last three or four years than each of the 17 years before, combined.”
Heroin is a relatively cheap drug with a high potency and the users are becoming younger and younger, which many believe is the cause of the spike in overdoses. The trend begins with low-dose pain pills at home, escalates to Oxycontin and eventually heroin, which is the cheapest of all three.
Statistics show that one in four people who try heroin become addicted on the first use. Common signs of an opiate addiction include fatigue, shallow and labored breathing, constricted pupils, nausea, and itching.