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ATLANTA — A string of drug overdoses has hospitalized dozens and may have killed up to four people in central and southwest Georgia, investigators said Tuesday.

Officials in Macon said toxicology tests were pending but that dozens of people appear to have overdosed over the past 48 hours. They told reporters that those affected took opioids “being sold on the street as Percocet.”

“We’ve never seen this many overdoses in such short a time,” said Dr. Christopher Hendry, chief medical officer for Navicent Health.


Percocet is a prescription opioid containing a blend of acetaminophen and oxycodone.

Nancy Nydam, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Public Health, described the drugs in a statement as “a dangerous, potentially lethal substance contained in street drugs.”


She said dozens of patients who overdosed over the past two days had bought “yellow pills alleged to be Percocet.”

“It is extremely potent and has required massive doses of naloxone to counteract its effects,” Nydam said. “Testing is being done to identify the pills and the ingredients.”

Officials said first responders have found overdose victims unconscious or unresponsive and having difficulty breathing in the Macon area as well as in the cities of Centerville, Perry, and Warner Robins.

WMAZ, a local television station, identified two of the overdose fatalities as Gregory Mitchell, 52, of Macon, and Amirrah Gillens,  36.

The Department of Public Health has also received reports of similar overdoses occurring in Albany, Ga., two hours southwest of Macon.

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis told reporters, “it seems someone has developed this pill and is passing it off as a prescription medicine.” David said his investigators had not yet determined the source of the drugs — but encouraged residents, including drug users, to reach out to authorities with tips.

Other parts of Georgia struggled with deadly batches of opioids in recent months. Back in April, two people died in a string of four heroin and fentanyl overdoses in Forsyth County just north of Atlanta. Last month Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed Georgia’s first death related to the potent combination of heroin and fentanyl known as “gray death.”

Houston County Coroner Daniel Galpin told STAT that he’s only seen a handful of fatal overdoses related to drugs. “Usually, they’ll overdose on prescription drugs,” he said.

  • And the FDA has decided to remove OPANA as a pain medication option for chronic pain patients because of potential abuse. Take all the legal pain options away and the abusers will still get drugs from the black market. Pain patients are suffering for the illegal actions of others. It won’t stop.

  • this is almost certainly fentanyl that has been made into pills. pretty sure a form of faux Rx opioids made with fentanyl is what killed Prince. fentanyl and fentanyl analogs are being manufactured in bulk in China.

    • Natalie, there are over 30 analogs of fentanyl (analogs meaning that the various substances are chemically related). Fentanyl Citrate is analog of fentanyl that is FDA-approved. The other analogs of fentanyl are usually produced in chemical “research” labs located in China and purchased from the internet. However, some people have learned how to reproduce these analogs in their own “make-shift labs” (via their kitchen – think Walter White – Breaking Bad). From what I’ve seen and read, it’s pretty cheap to purchase this crap over the internet or reproduce it in your own “lab.” They’ll tweak the chemicals just a bit to create yet another strain, then release it when the US and Europe bans the current analog they’re selling. The only analog of fentanyl that is NOT on our streets is the FDA-approved Fentanyl Citrate. While I’ve always believed one can purchase anything and everything from the internet (illegal purchases via Dark Web), I’ll admit I was quite shocked to read the reddit dark web forum regarding ordering this crap from the internet. I then googled and found several Chinese chemical research labs offering just about every analog of fentanyl, along with other substances that have been banned within the US. Also, it’s important to note that once any analog of fentanyl is ingested by the human body, toxicologists are currently unable to detect which analog was ingested. Many of these fentanyl deaths were lumped with legitimate prescription opioids overdose deaths. I’ll also mention that this is not the first time illicitly-produced fentanyl has been abused by many in society, as it was widely abused in both America and Europe back in the 70’s to early 80’s. This was many years prior to Fentanyl Citrate becoming available in the form of a patch and lozenge for palliative care within the home. I hope this answered your question.

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