Tag Archives: Oregon

Pill and heroin deaths surge across the nation

pillsoverdoseDespite increased media coverage and efforts to crack down on abuse, overdose deaths due to prescription drugs and heroin continue to happen at alarming rates in many states.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick recently declared a public health emergency due to the sharp increase in heroin overdoses and opioid addiction, with many addicts shifting from more expensive and harder-to-get pills to heroin, which is cheaper and widely available. Massachusetts state police say 185 people died from suspected heroin overdoses between November and February, a figure that does not include overdose deaths in the state’s three largest cities; the number of all opioid-related deaths increased from 363 in 2000 to 642 in 2011.

In Oklahoma, unintentional prescription drug overdoses claimed the lives of 534 residents in 2012; state health authorities say about half of them had taken drugs prescribed by their own doctors, according to this article.

In Iowa, the number of heroin overdose deaths rose 700 percent from 2003 to 2012, from one death to eight, according to this article.

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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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Oregon leads nation in prescription drug abuse

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.

Of the ten states with the highest rates of past year non-medical use of prescription pain relievers in 2010 and 2011, seven were in the West; of the ten states with the lowest rates, four were in the Midwest, and four were in the South, the report found.

Nationally, the abuse rate of prescription painkillers was 4.6%.

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