Opioid Epidemic Still Affecting Southern Oregon Despite First Responders Carrying Naloxone

The Medford Police Department said the reverse overdose medication naloxone (or Narcan) has helped officers save dozens lives since 2015. This past week, the department has seen two overdose deaths.

Posted: Mar 18, 2018 6:38 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 5:09 PM

MEDFORD, Ore.-- The Medford Police Department said the overdose reverse medication naloxone (or Narcan) has helped officers save lives. Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of an opioid, like heroin and some prescription pain medications, like hydrocodone or oxycodone.

"Naloxone goes into those opioid receptors in the brain and it pushes the opioid off and takes its place. It restores breathing in someone who's overdosed. It will save a life dramatically," Max’s Mission co-founder Julia Pinsky said.

Max's Mission is a non-profit organization that started a year and a half ago after her son died from a heroin overdose. It holds overdose education and naloxone distribution meetings across southern Oregon, hoping to help save lives.

Medford Police officers have used Narcan 39 times and saved 37 lives since they started carrying it back in 2015. MPD said they've had two overdose deaths in the last week, likely because of heroin.

"It's tragic how many people are losing their lives, young people too," Pinsky said.

MPD said at this time last year officers only used Narcan three times. This year, officers have already used it eight times.
Max's Mission wants to get Narcan in the hands of the ordinary citizens who feel comfortable.

"It's a really very sensible idea to have naloxone on hand. It is not because you think somebody is a drug user. It is like having the fire extinguisher, the epi-pen, it's like having your emergency kit. You may never need to use it but you may use it many times," Pinsky added.

The Medford Police Department said recent changes in laws have put more Narcan out in the community to save lives.

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