MEDFORD, Ore. – The Oregon Health Authority says there was a 70% increase in opioid deaths during April and May 2020.
OHA says the spike is alarming. It’s unclear if the pandemic played any part in the increase.
The state said fentanyl and heroin are the drugs most connected to opioid-involved deaths. Fentanyl was tied to 40% of all overdose deaths statewide in May.
The head of a local opioid awareness group, Max’s Mission said it’s not just illegal to use that’s a problem, doctors have been pushing legal drugs for years.
“Thousands of families whose teenage children were prescribed oxycontin after orthopedic exams, injuries, sports injuries. Children with no history of drug use began to be reliant on opioids,” said Julia Pinsky.
The OHA wants to remind people that opioid use disorder can be successfully treated.
If you need help, talk to your health care provider. You can also call the Portland-based non-profit Lines for Life, which is now partnering with the OHA with drug counseling.
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university’s political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster’s Foundation.
Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]