Recently released data gathered by the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Centers for Disease Control shows abnormally high distribution rates of prescription opioids in the west Georgia area. The data was released after a lengthy legal battle with the Washington Post. It spans from 2006 to 2012 and shows the legal sale of 76 billion prescription pain pills in the US. The data shows the tracking of every oxycodone and hydrocodone that was sold in the US from the manufacturer through the distributor to a local pharmacy. While Georgia did have high rates of opioid prescriptions, Haralson and Carroll County saw prescription rates well above those from 2006 to 2012. This is widely believed to be when opioid addictions skyrocketed in the area.
During the seven years, pharmaceutical companies supplied 22.3 million prescription pain pills to residents of Haralson County, enough for 111.8 pills per person per year. This is the second-largest per capita supply in the state only behind Stephens County located in northeast Georgia. Actavis Pharma, Inc. manufactured nearly half of all opioids prescribed in the county. The Mckesson Corporation distributed 10.8 million.
Carroll County saw 48.9 million pain killers prescribed from 2006 to 2012. This is enough for 64 pills per person per year. 13.3 million pills were distributed by the Mckesson Corporation and Actavis Pharma, Inc. manufactured 18.5 million of the pain killers that ended up in Carroll County.
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In August of 2018, Carroll County joined nearly 2,000 counties and cities that are suing manufacturers and distributors of opioids—including Actavis and Mckesson—for substantial financial burdens relating to opioid addictions, mainly for emergency services and court costs. According to data from 2016, Carroll County had more than 17 opioid-involved deaths per 100,000. Twice as high as the state average.
Other counties in our listening area saw substantial rates of pain killer prescriptions including Polk County which had 84.9 pills prescribed per person per year. Douglas County saw rates of 41.2 pills per person per year.