Medford police report ‘staggering’ rise in overdose deaths

MEDFORD, Ore. – Medford police are sounding the alarm after seeing a “staggering rise” in potential overdose deaths.

Early this month, Providence Health and Services said doctors were seeing a sharp increase in the number of people coming into the hospital due to fentanyl overdoses.

On Wednesday, April 19, the Medford Police Department said officers were actively working on drug issues in the community and putting an “incredible” amount of time and resources into fentanyl-related cases.

MPD reportedly responded to a total of 13 suspected overdose deaths in the city in March 2023.

Medford police said while overdoses may be increasing, they believe the increase in hospitalizations is being caused by a new mix of fentanyl mixed with a tranquilizer known as “xylazine.”

“Fentanyl and xylazine are being found in everything right now,” said Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team Sergeant Josh Reimer, referencing other drug seizures such as cocaine, methamphetamine or counterfeit opiate pills.

MPD said, “With the increase of fentanyl and xylazine in our area, it is likely the users will consume these substances unknowingly, thus experiencing an overdose.”

According to police and healthcare providers, naloxone — also known as Narcan — is still a very important life-saving tool when dealing with overdoses.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content