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Urgent Public Health Report issued for opioid overdoses in Douglas County

The World - 1/16/2020

Jan. 15--DOUGLAS COUNTY -- The Douglas Public Health Network issued an alert last week for fatal and non-fatal illicit opioid overdoses being reported in Douglas County.

They said there have been spikes in hospital emergency room admissions, as well as law enforcement, emergency support services, and Narcan being deployed for overdoses. An alert is only issued when a spike of overdoses occurs within 24 to 72 hours.

According to DPHN, it appears heroin being sold in Douglas County is especially potent or had fentanyl added to it, making it an immediate risk to people using illicit opioids. They added that methamphetamine and other drugs may also have been adulterated with fentanyl.

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"We are encouraging people who use illicit opioids, such as heroin, to abstain from using the drug and seek assistance through drug treatment or medical-assisted treatment," the DPHN stated in a release.

They encourage the medical community and other community partners to help spread information that abstention is the best way to avoid overdoses from drug use; the importance of knowing tolerances to drugs and reducing the amount taken; making sure someone is able to get medical aid if there is an overdose. They also encourage the use of Naloxone and calling 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose.

It was noted that Oregon's Good Samaritan Law protects a person calling 9-1-1 for help from being arrested or prosecuted for drug-related charges or parole and probation violations based on information provided to emergency responders.

Reporter Adam Robertson can be reached at 541-297-3590, or by email at adam.robertson@theworldlink.com.

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