Nearly Half of Georgia's Counties do Not Have a Local Methadone Clinic
A University of Georgia study finds that 71 out of Georgia’s 159 counties do not have a methadone clinic within a 15-minute drive of their residents.
That number includes seven of the nine counties with the highest opioid-related death rates, where over 30 out of 100,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2019.
Methadone can wean people off narcotics like heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl. Because methadone is strictly regulated and must be administered daily, experts say that access to a methadone clinic is integral to treat opioid addiction.
Most of the counties with an accessible methadone clinic were concentrated around urban centers, highlighting the disparity of health services in rural areas.
The study also found that the counties with high opioid overdose death rates had easier access to a federally qualified health center. If those facilities could deliver methadone, they would expand the availability of medical care in rural communities.