Opioid overdoses increase in Oregon

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Opioid overdose deaths in Oregon spiked nearly 70 percent during April and May compared to the same period last year.

In addition, overdose deaths during the first quarter of the year increased by nearly 8 percent.

The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division’s Injury and Violence Prevention Section analyzed data from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System. The data includes information from medical examiners and death certificates.

The analysts found total overdose deaths in March and April increased by more than 15 percent while increasing 28 percent between April and May. Of these, nearly 73 percent were from opioids.

In May, fentanyl accounted for nearly 40 percent of the opioid deaths, while methamphetamine/amphetamine accounted for more than 40 percent of all overdose deaths.

“Until more data become available, it is premature to say how much of the spike in overdose deaths is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Tom Jeanne, Public Health Division deputy state health officer and deputy state epidemiologist. “However, the realization that we will be dealing with COVID-19 for some time, and other stressors related to jobs, school, and social isolation, may increase feelings of anxiety and depression, and that can lead to a harmful level of alcohol or other drug use.”

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