Opioid deaths on the rise in Southern Oregon

Jackson County, Ore. — Jackson County’s medical leaders are worried a new trend may be taking hold.

Seven opioid deaths have been reported in the last four weeks.

Experts say it could be the beginning of a new wave of issues.

So far there have been 20 overdose deaths in Jackson County this year.

That’s compared to 16 deaths in entire year of 2016.

While most people look to heroin as a cause for death, statistics show the majority of the deaths have been due to pills.

Medical experts say those pills could be legitimate manufactured pain relievers, but there could also be bootleg pills in area that are filled with dangerous chemicals.

Chemicals like fentanyl which could quickly force someone to stop breathing in only a couple minutes.

Controlled medication safety nurse Sara Smith says she hopes prescribers will start offering naloxone in addition to pain killers.

“It’s called co-prescribing and it just means that because there really is no safe dose of an opioid, that the prescriber would also prescribe naloxone,” Controlled Medication Safety Nurse Sara Smith said.

Naloxone is a nasal spray that prevents an opioid overdose.

To get ahold of it, you can either reach out to a local nonprofit called “Max’s Mission”, or you can search online for pharmacists that offer naloxone.

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