The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office is targeting those responsible for creating and distributing illegal opioids throughout Gwinnett County.
“Through targeted prosecution of manufacturers and distributors of illegal opioids, our office is sending a clear message to the community that we value the lives of every Gwinnett County resident and will not tolerate those who seek to make a profit off the lives of others,” said District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gaston.
According to the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s office, in 2019, at least 66 deaths were determined to be caused by a drug-related overdose. Of those deaths, 25 were due to fentanyl overdose (38 percent of the overdose deaths in 2019 were caused by fentanyl). Last year, the Gwinnett County Police Department reported 725 overdoses with 59 deaths resulting from overdoses.
“We are increasingly seeing cases where drug distributors are creating ‘press pills’ to resemble legitimate pharmaceutical pills such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. While these press pills will look exactly like the real pills, they are composed predominately of fentanyl and cause serious complications and death,” said Austin-Gatson. “Additionally, we are seeing a large amount of heroin being sold that contains little or no actual heroin and is in fact fentanyl.”
Opiod overdoses are a growing prolem across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC . The rate of overdoses due to opioid drugs such as fentanyl, heroin and prescription drugs has increased six-fold over the last 20 years and nationwide over 750,000 deaths have been reported due to drug overdoses.
To date, the Gwinnett DA’s office has secured indictments on three individuals for felony murder and other related crimes where the evidence shows that these individuals knowingly distributed drugs in Gwinnett County that contained fentanyl and which directly caused the death of a person. Additionally, there are cases currently under investigation where indictments are anticipated for similar offenses, the DA’s Office said in a news release.