The Crook County Health Department reported there have been 15 non-fatal overdoses—and one fatal— since Sept. 15 in the tri-county area of Central Oregon including Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties. The Central Oregon Overdose Crisis Response Taskforce said the overdoses involved heroin, methamphetamines, counterfeit pills and other substances likely to contain fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that's 100 times stronger than morphine.
Central Oregon health departments are coordinating with first responders and community members to try to prevent additional overdoses and are updating their websites and social media to increase awareness of the upward trend. The task force recommends drug users avoid unprescribed pills, be cautious of mixing substances, carry Narcan—a nasal spray that can reverse opioid overdoses—and use fentanyl test strips on newly purchased substances. Narcan is free at most pharmacies and people can obtain fentanyl test strips for free at the Crook County Public Health Department, the Deschutes County Public Health Department and the Jefferson County Public Health Department.
Central Oregon public health departments also recommend people using drugs alone call a hotline at 800-484-3731, or visit a website at NeverUseAlone.com, that will notify emergency services if the person becomes unresponsive.