MEDFORD, Ore. — Prescription pain killer abuse is on the rise in Oregon, and now it’s being linked to more deaths than car accidents.
A report released this month from the trust for America’s health shows Oregon ranks 21st in among all states with nearly 13% mortality rate, roughly double the mortality rate from a decade ago.
Meanwhile, Oregon ranks first in prescription pain killer abuse nationwide, with Jackson County having the highest rate of dependency.
“Why it affects us more than other counties per capita I’m not sure. I know that in the past it was felt that chronic pain issues were best treated with chronic pain medications. And now we’ve found in the medical community that’s not necessarily true,” said Cory Bergey, the Medical Director at Providence Medical Center.
Bergey says alternatives like exercise, diet, and massage therapy are used more and more to treat chronic pain. She also says they can be just as effective as narcotics.