Yellow alert extended for Jackson County

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — A yellow alert has been extended in Jackson County due to the longest period of accidental overdoses from illegal opioids.

Jackson County Public Health issued the alert four weeks ago. They’re keeping it in place because of an unusually long spike in accidental, non-fatal overdoses from heroin. They said they’re still seeing an increase in emergency room visits over the last four weeks due to overdoses.

Public health officials are encouraging the medical community, other community partners, family and friends to be aware of the situation and advise people who suffer from an opioid addiction of the following information from Jackson County Public Health:

  • Abstaining from drug use is the best way to eliminate the risk of an overdose. Ask the person about their willingness to begin medication-assisted treatment or drug treatment. For a list of providers, you can access the Stay Safe Oregon website.
  • Even people who haven’t used in a while may relapse and are at increased risk of an overdose. It is important to be aware of your tolerance.
  • Have an overdose plan, make sure someone can get to you when you use, and it is safest only to use when you are with someone you trust.
  • Get naloxone. You can get naloxone through these avenues:
    • Any pharmacist in Oregon can prescribe naloxone to you.
      o Anyone who can prescribe medication can send a naloxone prescription to your
      pharmacy.
      o People who utilize the Syringe Exchange Program can receive free naloxone.
      o Free naloxone is available through Max’s Mission community meetings and events.
  • It is important to call 911 when someone is overdosing from illicit opioids such as heroin. If you use naloxone, the effects are temporary, and the person still needs medical attention. After the medication wears off, the person could fall back into a coma. If you call police or 911 to get help for someone having a drug overdose, Oregon’s Good Samaritan Law protects you from being arrested or prosecuted for drug-related charges or parole/probation violations based on information provided to emergency responders.
  • It is important not to mix drugs because drugs taken together can interact in ways that increase their overall effect and increase your risk of overdosing.

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