Be on the lookout for a dramatic rise in illicit opioid usage – Death is roaming the streets of our nation…
Spike in Overdoses of Opioids on Oregon Coast
Spike in Overdoses Reported in Coos & Lane Counties Be on the Lookout for Signs of Overdose, Carry Naloxone, and Seek Services
Lane & Coos counties issued an alert on Thursday May 20th, regarding an increase in accidental overdoses from illicit opioids. The alert was issued based on reports from Eugene Police Department and the Coos County Sheriff’s Office about increased fatalities related to counterfeit illicit opioids sold as blue pills. In May 2020, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported a 70% increase in overdose deaths for April/May when compared to the previous year. OHA reported that the increase in fatal overdoses appear to be the result of fentanyl in the drug supply.
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, used for treating severe pain, and is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is typically used in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges but can be diverted for misuse. Fentanyl has been found in heroin and other opiate substances, meth, cocaine, and ecstasy. Any street drug can be mixed with fentanyl because it is cheaper to produce and extremely potent. Drugs mixed with fentanyl can cause accidental overdose and death.
Lincoln County Public Health is advising the public, law enforcement and our first responders to:
- Be on the lookout for overdoses.
- Carry Naloxone or Narcan
- Alert others to the increased risk of overdose and potential contamination of fentanyl in the drug supply.
Signs of Opioid/Fentanyl Overdose: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs and symptoms of opioid overdose include:
- Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
- Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Choking or gurling sounds
- Limp body
- Pale, blue, or cold skin
Naloxone/Narcan Saves Lives: Naloxone is a medication that can be administered during an overdose to temporarily block the opioids effect on the body to delay or prevent death during an overdose. Naloxone is available as an injectable or nasal spray (Narcan). If Naloxone is used, the effects are temporary, and the person still needs medical attention.
You can get naloxone through:
- Lincoln County Harm Reduction provides free naloxone 541-270-9069.
- Any pharmacist in Oregon can prescribe naloxone for you.
- Anyone who can prescribe medication can send a naloxone prescription to your pharmacy.
- Confederated Tribes of The Siletz Indians also provides free naloxone, 541-444-9672.
Testing Your Supply Can Help Prevent Overdose: Fentanyl testing strips (FTS) can identify the presence of fentanyl in illicit substances. FTS can be used on powders, injectable drugs, and pills. Testing your supply can help reduce your risk of overdose.
You can get FTS through Lincoln County Harm Reduction, 541-270-9069.
Call 9-1-1 if someone is having an overdose: Even if Naloxone is used and overdose symptoms are reversed, the effect is temporary, and the person still needs medical attention. Call 9-1-1 if someone is having an overdose. 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.
Steps to reduce overdose risk:
- Abstaining from drug use is the best way to eliminate risk of overdose.
- If abstinence is not possible:
- Reduce dosages
- Have Naloxone on hand
- Test your drugs using fentanyl testing strips (FTS)
- Use with someone who can help you
- Know your tolerance: If you haven’t used for a while, your tolerance is lower and your risk of overdose is higher.
- Seek drug treatment or medication-assisted therapy (MAT) to reduce risk of opioid overdose:
- Reconnections Counseling, Newport 541-203-0635. This is a dedicated line to a peer support person who will assist with getting people into treatment.
- Equinox 541-790-2455. https://equinoxclinics.com/
- Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians MAT, Siletz 541-444-1030.
- Lincoln County Behavioral Health, Newport (541-574-5960) and Lincoln City (541-265-4196).