Unknown street drug blamed for deaths, dozens of overdoses in Georgia

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Percocet is a brand-name drug that contains oxycodone, a powerful opioid painkiller, as well as the analgesic pain reliever acetaminophen. Some overdose victims were put on ventilators to help them breathe and some were administered "aggressive" doses of antidotes such as naloxone or Narcan. The unidentified pills are already linked to four deaths and dozens of overdoses.

"Testing is being done to identify the pills and the ingredients", said the Georgia Department of Public Health in the statement, according to Reuters.

"What is uncommon is to see so many (overdoses) come in in such a short time frame", said Dr. Christopher Hendry, chief medical officer of Navicent Health, one of three hospitals in Georgia that is known to have received the patients.

Overdoses were reported in the cities of Macon, Warner Robbin and Albany as well as in Centerville and Perry - though officials have warned the pills may still be being sold in other areas. The agency stressed that some of the people found weren't even breathing or were unconscious. GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles reportedly told the Atlanta Journal-Constituion Tuesday morning that two people were dead and dozens hospitalized. It is not yet clear what the drug actually is, however, as toxicology reports have not come back yet.

State officials acknowledged Tuesday that narrowing down an exact cause for the deaths and overdoses in middle Georgia could be hard.

No new deaths are reported in the case overnight, but authorities are asking people to call 911 if they encounter these yellow Percocet pills or believe they know someone who took them.

Lopez said the likely ingredients to the fake prescription pills included heroin and the more powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, based on the effects of the pills.

The GBI, local law enforcement and the Georgia Department of Public Health are investigating the overdoses. "However, when it's taken, the patients are experiencing significant and severe (ly) decreased levels of consciousness and respiratory failure", Hendry said during a news conference in front of the emergency room Tuesday afternoon.

Naloxone is an emergency drug used to reverse opioid overdoses.

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