Illicit opioid alert issued in Jackson County

MEDFORD, Ore. – Public health officials in Jackson County are issuing a warning due to an increase in illicit opioid overdoses.

According to Jackson County Public Health, the “Yellow Alert” is being sent out based on a sudden increase in emergency room admissions and overdose responses. There has reportedly been one death from illicit opioids in Jackson County in the past two weeks.

“We are encouraging the medical community, other community partners, family and friends, and people who suffer from opioid addiction to be aware of the increase in overdoses,” Jackson County Public Health said. “There are actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of someone overdosing.”

The county gave the following advice to reduce the risk of overdosing:

  • Abstaining from drug use is the best way to eliminate the risk of overdose. Ask the person about their willingness to begin medication-assisted treatment or drug treatment. A list of providers can be found on the Stay Safe Oregon website https://staysafeoregon.com/find-help/treatment-and-recovery/. Jackson County Syringe Exchange Program provides referrals for medication-assisted treatment or drug treatment to people who utilize the program’s services.
  • It is crucial to call 911 when someone is overdosing on opioids.  If you use naloxone, the effects are temporary, and the person still needs medical attention. After the medication wears off, the person could fall back into a coma. If you call 911 for someone having a drug overdose, Oregon’s Good Samaritan Law protects you from being arrested or prosecuted for drug-related charges or parole/probation violations based on information provided to emergency responders.
  • Even people who haven’t used in a while may relapse and are at an increased risk of an overdose. It is important to be aware of your tolerance and always use less.
  • Have an overdose plan, make sure someone can get to you when you use, and it is safest only to use when you are with someone you trust.
    • Any pharmacist in Oregon can prescribe naloxone to you. You do not need a prescription in Oregon to access naloxone through a pharmacy. List of Oregon pharmacies distributing naloxone.
    • Anyone who can prescribe medication can send a naloxone prescription to your pharmacy.
    • People who utilize the Syringe Exchange Program can receive free naloxone.
    • Free naloxone is available through Max’s Mission and HIV Alliance.
      • Max’s Mission will be holding a naloxone event this Thursday, January 14, 2021, at Alba Park from 2-4 pm.
    • It is important not to mix drugs because drugs taken together can interact in ways that increase their overall effect and increase your risk of overdosing.

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