Opioid Crisis Hits Right Here at Home

The opioid crisis has reached all corners of the country including right here in southern Oregon. Yet, it's still often difficult to put a face to the epidemic.

Posted: Jun 20, 2018 5:24 PM
Updated: Jun 20, 2018 6:11 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — The opioid crisis has reached all corners of the country including right here in southern Oregon. Yet, it's still often difficult to put a face to the epidemic.

The horrors are all too real for Mike Pelfrey and his family in Grants Pass.

Pelfrey lost his sister to an opioid overdose. She had been a nurse anesthetist and was caught using some of the drugs intended for her patients. At one point she even went to re-hab to save her job but went right back to abusing pain killers shortly after she completed the program.


One day, Pelfrey got the call that his sister had overdosed and died.

Representative Greg Walden is the chairman of the energy and commerce committee. The committee has brought 57 pieces of opiod related legislation to the House floor over the past two weeks. Walden explained the problems the legislation tries to address.

"How do you get access to treatment sooner for people who are addicted?" says Walden. "How do you get better practices in place for prescribing? How do you make sure the treatment people get is actually effective? How do you stop the illegal fentanyls coming into the country through greater inspection processes at our postal facilities?"

Pelfrey's son Zach is addicted to opioids. Pelfrey explained that it all started after a sports injury. At the time, Zach was in college on a baseball scholarship. Pelfrey says the doctor prescribed Zach painkillers and by the time they were finished, Zach was already addicted. So he moved onto options he could buy on the street. Pelfrey details how it all went downhill from there.

"We've had police come to our house because of choices our son made," remembers Pelfrey. "He spent lots of time in jail because of decisions that he made. All of this, I believe, because of the drug use.

However, Pelfrey says it hasn't changed the core of his son.

"Zach's personality is so awesome," says Pelfrey with tears in his eyes. "He's such a wonderful young man. Unfortunately, he has an issue. He has a problem. And that is a terrible addiction."

Walden acknowledges just how common Zach's story is around the country. He also admits it's going to take a multi-pronged approach to solve the problem - something the new legislation is trying to tackle.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4185

Reported Deaths: 153
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah114259
Marion94925
Washington73417
Clackamas30611
Deschutes1240
Umatilla1163
Linn1159
Polk9812
Lane693
Yamhill697
Jackson650
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Malheur320
Coos310
Jefferson300
Douglas270
Wasco231
Josephine231
Hood River160
Columbia160
Lincoln120
Morrow110
Curry70
Union60
Tillamook60
Crook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 109895

Reported Deaths: 4144
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles537462339
Riverside7486323
San Diego7385269
Orange6100146
San Bernardino5200204
Alameda328995
Santa Clara2731141
San Francisco253241
Kern214538
San Mateo210484
Tulare184484
Fresno171435
Santa Barbara164912
Imperial163427
Contra Costa142637
Sacramento140056
Ventura107833
San Joaquin85834
Kings7353
Stanislaus69928
Sonoma5484
Solano51722
Monterey50910
Marin45014
Merced2837
San Luis Obispo2691
Placer2149
Santa Cruz2122
Yolo21024
Napa1123
Madera1042
Humboldt993
El Dorado900
San Benito872
Del Norte450
Butte440
Sutter432
Nevada411
Shasta374
Mono351
Mendocino300
Yuba301
Lake210
Inyo201
Mariposa161
Glenn160
Calaveras150
Amador100
Siskiyou70
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Tehama41
Plumas40
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 68°
Brookings
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 66°
Crater Lake
Few Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 65°
Grants Pass
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 68°
Klamath Falls
Few Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 65°
Few showers Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events