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With its top prescription drug an opioid, Georgia works on response

Georgia is one of 10 states in which the No. 1 prescription given is for an opioid, according to a new report.

Hydrocodone, a powerful painkiller, outranked all other drugs prescribed in Georgia.

That included long-term treatments such as the cholesterol drug Lipitor and its generics, or the ADHD drug Adderall and its generics, drugs that dominated in some other states.

Opioid addiction is taking a big toll on U.S. communities and the economy. Georgia is among the top 11 states with the most opioid overdose deaths, according to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s office. There is a heavy ripple effect on the families those addicts leave behind and the economic loss of their work to the community.

The state Legislature has sought to address the epidemic with study committees and proposed legislation.  Senate Bill 352 would create an executive director of substance abuse, addiction and related disorders, and it would establish a high-ranking commission on recovery. House Bill 701 won passage, and if the governor signs the legislation, it would allow testing for all forms of opioids for state jobs.

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The House and Senate have each passed budget proposals that would dispense millions to deal with problems resulting from the opioids crisis. That includes an increase in children in the state foster care system.

Even so, advocates say far more is needed to deal with expensive needs such as addiction treatment.

The data in the study were reported by Kaiser Health News and come from an online prescription service, GoodRx.

In the majority of states, the top drug was a thyroid drug, Levothyroxine.

In Kentucky, the No. 1 prescription was for Naloxone, a drug given to combat opioid overdoses.

Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at PoliticallyGeogia.com.

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