Local mom trying to reduce number of opioid overdose deaths

Medford, Ore. — Opioid use continues to be a problem across the country and in our own Rogue Valley.

Now, a local mother who lost her son to overdose is trying to reach out to the community to lower the number of deaths.

Free training and prescriptions of a medication to reverse an opioid overdose will be available for the public at the Medford Public Library Tuesday night from 7pm to 9pm.

“It was shocking, devastating, hard to understand, hard to wrap your brain around,” Medford resident Julia Pinsky said.

A wave of emotion hit Pinsky after losing her 27-year-old son, Max, to a heroin overdose 4 years ago.

“We look at it that if we had Naloxone on hand, or the Narcan… we may have been able to save his life,” Pinsky said.

Naloxone is a medication that reverses an opioid overdose.

It was once hard to get in the Rogue Valley, but as of October, it can now be prescribed at pharmacies.

“Evidence is that when that’s widely available in a community, the overdose deaths go down,” medical director Jim Shames of Jackson County Public Health & Services said.

Pinsky wants to get the word out.

Her method?

Starting a nonprofit called Max’s Mission’ – named after her son.

“Community outreach, to prevent more overdoses,” Pinsky said.

Max’s Mission is holding its first event with Jackson County Public Health Tuesday night at the Medford Public Library.

The plan is to educate the community on opioid overdose and the resources available.

They’ll also be giving out free prescriptions of Narcan – a nasal spray version of Naloxone.

“People can help other people, and maybe people won’t feel so isolated with the problem,” Pinsky said.

If you aren’t able to make it to the event Tuesday night, you can still help by donating to Max’s Mission: https://www.maxsmission.org/

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