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South Health District (Georgia)

South Health District

Jurisdiction: Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift, and Turner Counties, total population 260,725

South Health District is a branch of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) that serves 10 counties in South Central Georgia. According to the Georgia DPH, 118 drug-related overdose deaths were reported in the district between 2016 and 2020, 60 of them opioid-related, as well as 3,393 drug-related overdose emergency department (ED) admissions, 609 of those opioid-related. For March 2022, Tift County ranked first in the state of Georgia for overdose-related ED visits, with 77.4 per 100,000 population.

South Health District currently has 9 drug disposal sites scattered across 4 of the 10 counties; each of the district’s county sheriff’s departments additionally house a safe-drug-disposal drop box. Comprehensive Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Program funds were used to purchase 2,500 drug disposal pouches for distribution to South Health District communities for personal drug disposal use. This included distribution to residents in all district counties, law enforcement agencies, college campuses, and other community partners and stakeholders. Distribution occurred upon request, whether in person or via mail, as well as at various community events where South Health District’s Opioid and Substance Misuse Response Program is represented as a community resource.