Oregon combats opioid crisis with multi-pronged strategy

oregon opioid epidemic

The Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division found that in 2013, out of 4 million Oregonians, 1 million of them received an opioid prescription for pain management.

Since the ‘90s, the Oregon Health Authority has seen a dramatic increase in the sale, use, misuse, addiction and overdose of opioids. With a hefty 25 percent of Oregon’s population on opioids, the related harm from misuse had surpassed the amount of poisonings and deaths from alcohol, illegal substances such as methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine and even motor vehicle traffic deaths.

About 1 in 4 Oregonians are at a high risk for dangers caused by opioid misuse due to ineffective prescribing practices and lack of information about facilities and services available before, during and after treatment or recovery.

Although the “majority of opioid users are middle-aged, it’s important to note, though, that opioid misuse could happen to anyone and crosses many demographic groups, including pregnant mothers who often give birth to opioid-dependent infants,” said Tony Andersen, Oregon Health Authority’s lead opioid communications officer. “There are also stories of teenage athletes following the course of opioid dependency and misuse, among many others.”

To reduce harm and overdoses associated with the misuse of prescription opioids in Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division compiled and publicly provided a statewide standard for the regulation of prescriptions practices.

The Opioid Prescribing Guidelines Task Force adopted many of the guidelines already set in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into their Oregon-specific Opioid Prescribing Guidelines. These guidelines detail the new protocols between patients and physicians to ensure… (continue reading)