Medford Police: Fentanyl Linked to Overdose Deaths

Last month, Medford Police saw 10 fatal heroin overdoses in just seven weeks. It's now learning that three of those people that died had both heroin and fentanyl in their systems.

Posted: May 22, 2018 6:16 PM
Updated: May 22, 2018 6:24 PM

MEDFORD, Ore.-- Last month, Medford Police saw 10 fatal heroin overdoses in just seven weeks. It's now learning that three of those people that died had both heroin and fentanyl in their systems. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid previously only seen on the east coast. It's now all over the United States and 50 times more powerful than heroin. The Medford Police department said it’s now in southern Oregon.

"it's something that we think is just now starting to trickle into the area and were hoping that it's not going to become another epidemic," said MADGE Commander Lt. Mike Budreau.

Fentanyl can cause someone to overdose in less than a minute. MPD said if you are struggling with addiction, seek treatment but if you are going to use, take precautions.

"It's out there. It’s for real. It's really does kill people. Take precautions it would be easy to say ‘get treatment. Quit using.’ We know this much more difficult said than done, so that's why we’re offering these other tips as well but in a perfect world people could get treatment," Budreau added.

One of those precautions, MPD recommends, is carrying Narcan or naloxone.

"Having Narcan on hand can instantly save their lives. It's between life or death it's perfectly legal it's very easy to use so it's really like having that back up plan in case something goes awry," Budreau added.

Naloxone doesn't treat addiction but it can reverse the effects of an overdose. It blocks or reverses the effects of an opioid, like heroin or fentanyl, or even some prescription pain medications.

"With a few safe practices they can safeguard more people dying. You don't have a big window to save someone once they overdosed. We want to stop them from overdosing. If they do take drugs, you want naloxone there because it can save their lives," said Max’s Mission co-founder, Julia Pinsky.

Max’s Mission is holding a free training and Narcan give away on Wednesday, May 23rd, from 4:30-6:30.

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