Fentanyl Overdoses Jump in Oregon – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

State health officials say overdose deaths more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, largely due to the misuse of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

An Oregon Health Authority analysis released Thursday found that drug overdose deaths in Oregon more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, largely due to the misuse of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Preliminary data indicates the trend is continuing this year, officials said. The trend is prompting urgent demands for supplies of naloxone, the rescue drug that quickly reverses an opioid overdose.

“We are seeing a critical need for naloxone as many communities are experiencing a dramatic increase in overdoses from fentanyl abuse,” OHA health officer and state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said in a statement. communicated. “We encourage everyone in Oregon to educate themselves and their loved ones, including young people, about the importance of naloxone, how to use it in the event of an overdose, and where people can access it.”

Health officials said Thursday that unless a “pharmacist hands you a prescription pill directly, assume it’s counterfeit and contains fentanyl.” Anyone taking pills should do so with others and have naloxone available, officials said.

OHA Naloxone Rescue for Opioid Overdose Webpage contains frequently asked questions about naloxone and a map showing pharmacies in Oregon that dispense the drug.

Officials also say anyone actively using opioids or other drugs can get free naloxone and other harm reduction materials through needle service programs. Needle Service Programs and Needle Exchange Services in Oregon are accessible to anyone who uses drugs, whether they inject or not.