Written by Kassi Nelson, Posted: Thu, April 24 2014 at 6:09 PM, Updated: Thu, April 24 2014 at 7:06 PM
Medford, Ore. -- New numbers released from the Oregon Medical Examiner's office Thursday show drug related deaths are down, but only slightly. The report also shows meth use is more deadly than it's been in more than a decade.
One Rogue Valley man said he's not surprised, that drugs almost took his life.
"It just takes that one time. That one time to stick a needle in your arm or take a hit off the tin foil that's going to be your last," Weaver said.
Weaver said he battled with addiction for nearly a decade. It started with painkillers before progressing into heroin and meth. But now he's been sober for two years.
"I never thought there was a way out. I thought I was going to go out using and I was going to die that way," Weaver said.
The report focuses on heroin, cocaine, meth, and a combination of those. 222 Oregonians died because of drugs in 2013. While heroin and cocaine deaths both decreased from 2012 to 2013, methamphetamine deaths increased by 32 percent. That makes it the most deadly year for users since 2000.
Medical Director for Jackson County Health and Human Services, Jim Shames, said people don't overdose on meth like they do on heroine or cocaine. Meth users die because of their actions after getting high.
"Driving too fast, smashing into a tree, drowning," he said.
Cocaine related deaths were the fewest recorded since the beginning of 2000. Combination of drug use dropped 20 percent and was the second fewest since the beginning of 2000.
Weaver said he looked death in the face several times, and he wants people to know there's always a way out.
"If you come in and give it an honest shot and you really want to be clean it can be done," he said.
Resources for people battling addiction in Jackson County include the Addictions Recovery Center, OnTrack, Foundations for Recovery, and Phoenix Counseling Center.
NBC5 News reporter Kassi Nelson was born and raised in Nebraska. She graduated from the journalism school at University of Nebraska Lincoln where she studied broadcasting.
She also studied philosophy in the Czech Republic. Kassi has visited nine other countries including Sochi, Russia, where she reported on the preparations for the 2014 Olympic Games.
She loves skiing and live concerts!