Monthly Archives: June 2013

Ore. sees spike in heroin overdose deaths

heroinspoonDriven by the prescription drug addiction epidemic, heroin deaths in Oregon reached a record high in 2012, and the victims were predominantly people in their twenties — much younger than overdose deaths in past years, according to this article.

Heroin killed 147 people, a new high, and accounted for 65% of the illegal drug deaths, the article says, citing state medical examiner data.

There was some good news: overall, numbers of people who died from illegal drugs last year dropped 7% compared to 2011, the article notes.

Says one official quoted in the article:

We are seeing a trend — and the police would agree — of people who were addicted to prescription opioids turning to heroin because they can’t get their prescriptions filled or can’t afford to pay the street price…they can get the heroin cheaper, but they don’t know how to take it or its potency.

The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health has found that Oregon leads the nation in abuse of prescription drugs. According to the survey, 6.37% of Oregonians 12 years and older used painkillers for a non-medical purpose in the past year. The lowest rate was found in Iowa, where 3.6% of residents were reported to have abused painkillers.

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Staten Island Oxy supply dwindles, opening door to heroin

DRUG BANNEDAs the prescription drug epidemic in New York’s Staten Island gets more attention, addicts and criminals are discovering it increasingly difficult to get doctors here to write new prescriptions for oxycodone, or find pharmacies willing to fill those scripts for new patients, which is pushing people elsewhere to obtain the painkiller, according to this article. An analysis of state health department data showed that in 2012, borough residents received 141,481 prescriptions for the drug; Staten Island physicians were responsible for writing out 110,327 of those prescriptions, meaning at least 31,000 of Islander’s scripts, possibly more, come from off-Island doctors, the article says.

Similarly, pharmacies in the borough filled out 122,048 oxycodone prescriptions in 2012, indicating that residents went off-Island to fill at least 19,400 of their scripts, the article says.

By comparison, Manhattan residents received just 264,271 prescriptions for oxycodone last year, but doctors there wrote out nearly twice as many scripts there — 514,819 in total, according to the article.

And unfortunately, the dwindling supply of pills may start to push people towards other dangerous opiates, according to one treatment director quoted in the article:

Everybody who’s been using for the past 10 years, they aren’t going to stop. They’re going to heroin.

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