June 7, 2017 (HealthDay News ) -- Overdoses from an unknown street drug have caused at least four deaths and harmed dozens in the central part of Georgia, according to state officials.
They said it's the largest cluster of opioid overdoses in the state's history, CBS News reported.
At least seven of the overdose patients are on ventilators, one state health official said.
Authorities are awaiting test results to confirm the cause of the outbreak, but officials said a number of patients told medical staff that they became ill after consuming yellow pills bought on the street, CBS News reported.
"This is something we have been fearing would happen over a period of time," said Dr. Patrick O'Neal, director of health protection for the state Department of Public Health. "This is a national issue."
The street drug, being sold as the pain medication Percocet, can cause loss of consciousness and severe respiratory failure, said Chris Hendry, chief medical officer at Navicent Health in Macon, CBS News reported.