Jackson County Opioid Overdoses Surge: Alert Issued

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — An increase in emergency medical responses as well as admissions to the emergency department between March 24 and 29 in the county has led Jackson County Public Health (JCPH) to issue an overdose alert for opioid overdoses, especially for fentanyl, sometimes overdosed intentionally or unwittingly.


Fentanyl Overdoses In Jackson County

In their press release, JCPH indicated that the presence of fentanyl in the drug supply has increased, elevating the risk of poisoning or overdosing. This is especially in the case of people who are not using fentanyl intentionally, but who are using drugs recreationally or experimenting.

Read: Young Man’s Tragic Death Paints Grim Picture Of Drug Overdosing Aftermath

JCPH confirmed that illegally manufactured fentanyl could be sold as counterfeit oxycontin tablets, or is sometimes sold in powder form. This can look like other drugs like methamphetamine or cocaine. Other illicit opioids like heroin are also sometimes blended with  Fentanyl.

Read: 3 Southern Oregon Drug Traffickers Headed For Federal Prison

Having an overdose plan is one of the most critical things to have in place. According to JCPH,  this could be done by ensuring that someone can get to the user while they’re using opioids. Ideally, this should be someone they trust.


Reactions To Overdoses And How to Respond

There is no safe way to use illicit opioids but JCPH said there are ways that the overdosing risks associated with using these drugs can be reduced. Abstaining completely is the most effective way to avoid overdosing, but JCPH also has the following advice:

  • Call 9-1-1 without delay if someone is overdosing. Everyone is protected from being arrested or prosecuted for drug-related charges or parole/probation violations based on information provided to emergency responders by the Good Samaritan Law.
  • If a safe person is not with the person overdosing, call the 24/7 Never Use Alone Hotline at 1-877-696-1996.
  • Drug testing strips can be used and they can also establish whether someone’s drug supply contains fentanyl before they use it.
  • Naloxone can be carried at all times. It is available over the counter and in Oregon, legislation allows residents to carry naloxone and to use it on other people. Because the effects of it are temporary, the person who overdosed must still get medical attention. After naloxone wears off, the person could fall back into a coma.


Naloxone works only in reversing opioid overdoses. A person who overdoses on fentanyl may need more naloxone to reverse the overdose, but it could take 2 or 3 minutes for the naloxone to take effect.

Free naloxone is available to people who utilize the Jackson County Syringe Exchange Program and can also be accessed through HIV Alliance and Max’s Mission.

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