Jackson County extends opioid overdose ‘Red Alert’

MEDFORD, Ore.– Jackson County Public Health is keeping its first-ever “Red Alert” in place after seeing an uptick in opioid overdoses for the second week in a row.

Since the health department began seeing spikes in the level of fatal and non-fatal overdoses since December 15, at least one person is confirmed to have died. However, there are no additional suspect fatalities from illicit opioids since then.

The agency says there’s been an increase in both emergency room visits and law enforcement need to use Narcan on people. It’s believed heroin may be the suspect causing these overdoses and could be particularly potent or may contain fentanyl.

The county is encouraging people using illicit opioids to abstain from using the drug and find assistance through drug treatment or medication-assisted treatment. However, the county is aware many may not be able to immediately make the switch.

That’s why groups like Max’s Mission is providing naloxone to help save lives and prevent people from overdosing.

If you or someone you know is using, you’re encouraged to get help or be prepared with a plan and naloxone that can be used in the event of an overdose. If you call police or 911 to get help 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.

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