Mass overdose kills two, dozens more hospitalized in Georgia

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Georgia authorities believe up to four people have died and dozens more have become ill in the central part of the state after overdosing on an unknown street drug.

In just 48 hours, Emergency workers attended to several drug overdose reports from Perry, Centerville, Albany, and Warner Robins. But the distribution of the potentially lethal pills may be more widely spread, it said.

The yellow pills are being sold as the opioid-based painkiller Percocet, but the effects are substantially more potent, causing victims to stop breathing.

Some people have been found unconscious and were put on ventilators to help them breathe.

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

Georgia Poison Center is working with hospitals and gathering more information to determine whether these additional cases are connected to a cluster of overdoses reported in the last three days.

The abuse of opioids - a class of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers - has assumed epidemic proportions in the United States. "The individuals that are involved in the drug trade, this may be their newest product ..."

Reports of overdoses were still coming in Tuesday, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nelly Miles tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://on-ajc.com/2qZ05dP ). And he warned residents not to take any medications other than those prescribed by a physician or obtained at a pharmacy.

If anyone comes in contact with any street drug claiming to be a yellow Percocet, officials at the clinic said you shouldn't ingest the drug.

The opioid crisis in America has pushed overdose-death statistics to new heights in recent years.

Toxicology reports are not back yet on what exactly the drug is that's leading to the current outbreak of overdoses in middle Georgia.

"We're afraid that this may be more widespread", Lopez said. "There's a compound in the South that's recently popped up - 10,000 times more powerful than morphine - where the normal doses of Narcan are not effective", Hendry said. He added those with drug problems and addictions wouldn't face repercussions if they come forward with any details regarding the still-unidentified drug.

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