OHA reports an alarming 70% increase in opioid-related deaths

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.

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