Increase in Central Oregon Regional Overdoses

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Central Oregon Public Health Departments have identified a recent increase in overdoses. The Central Oregon Public Health Overdose Team is a regional initiative between Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties.

Between April 9 and April 26, there have been approximately 20 confirmed and 12 unconfirmed non- fatal overdoses in the Central Oregon Region, with two confirmed deaths from overdoses.

  • Overdoses have involved heroin, opioids, methamphetamines and several other substances that have yet to be identified, many of which likely contain fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine.
  • 18 doses of naloxone were administered overall to revive and save multiple lives. There were several overdoses where it is unknown if naloxone was administered.

What are Central Oregon Health Departments doing in response?

  • Coordinating with first responders and community partners to monitor and prevent additional overdoses.
  • Updating websites, social media and other communications to increase awareness.

Actions for community partners:

  • Please immediately share harm reduction messaging with your clients [e.g., “We have heard about a possible increase in overdoses. [When using, please go slow and make sure you are around others. If you have access to Narcan, make sure everyone knows where it is and how to use it.”].
  • Ask clients if they have any information [e.g., “Have you seen an increase in overdoses? Any idea what might be causing it?”].
  • Do not add information to community messages that is not confirmed by County Health Officials. Be careful to not give information that can give opiate users a false sense of security, increasing risk of morbidity and mortality.

Prevention:

The Central Oregon Public Health Overdose Team is issuing a warning to people who use drugs to take additional precautions. People who choose to use pills outside of a care plan developed with a healthcare provider, or who use other substances [e.g., heroin and/or methamphetamine] should take steps to reduce the risk of an overdose. Steps you can take to reduce an overdose are:

  • Avoid any pills that are not prescribed by a medical provider.
  • Be extremely cautious when using more than one substance at the same time, it is highly likely there is fentanyl in most drugs purchased on the street.
  • Don’t use alone — If you are going to use by yourself, call 800-484-3731, NeverUseAlone.com. You will be asked for your first name, location and the number you are calling from. An operator will stay on the line with you while you use. If you stop responding after using, the operator will notify emergency services of an “unresponsive person” at your location.
  • Carry naloxone, also known as the nasal spray Narcan, the only medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. You can obtain free Naloxone from most pharmacies throughout Central Oregon without a prescription.
  • Carry fentanyl test strips and test all newly purchased substances before first use.
  • Where can you obtain free test strips from Harm reduction services?
  • Crook County Public Health Department located at 375 NW Beaver Street, Suite 100, Prineville, Oregon — Monday-Friday, 8-5pm
  • Deschutes County Public Health Department at deschutes.org/health/page/syringe-exchange-program
  • Jefferson County Public Health Department at 541-475-4456

deschutes.org

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