Statistics from autopsies in 152 of the state’s 159 counties show there was an 8.6 percent decrease in the number of prescription overdose deaths in 2011 from 2010.
However, some of the states most populated counties including Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Henry, Hall or Rockdale Counties were not included in the study.
Statistics reveal there were 664 overdose deaths in 2011, and 512 involved solely prescription drugs. The numbers from 2010 indicate that 729 people died from overdose deaths, with 560 of those dying from using solely prescription drugs.
A GBI analysis showed 82 people died in 2011 from illicit drugs and 70 died using a combination of both prescription and illicit drugs.
The vast majority of those deaths, 91 percent, were accidental.
The drug attributing most often to these deaths is the anxiety drug alprazolam, or Xanax. It was involved in 231 deaths. Oxycodone, a narcotic pain reliever, was involved in 188 deaths in 2011.
Two other pain relievers, methadone and hydrocodone, contributed to 158 and 133 deaths, respectively.
The most overdose deaths occurred in the demographic group of 45 to 55 year old white males, the study concluded. The second most at-risk group is 35 to 44 year old white males, it stated.