Opioids are a class of drugs that reduce feelings of pain. Prescription opioids like Oxycodone and Vicodin are intended to treat moderate to severe pain and are often prescribed after a surgery or an injury. While prescription opioids have been used as painkillers, they have great potential for misuse.
Heroin and illicitly-made fentanyl and drugs like it called fentanyl analogs are also present throughout Oregon and Clackamas County and contribute greatly to the opioid crisis.
People are more likely to die from an illicit fentanyl overdose, because it is many times more potent than other opioids and may require additional doses of naloxone to reverse an overdose. Illicit opioids like fentanyl are now being sold as counterfeit pills through illicit drug markets, and more recently on social media. Buyers or users may not even know the drug they’re purchasing contains fentanyl. Learn more about the dangers of counterfeit pills.
Over the past 20 years, the opioid epidemic washed over the country in waves. We migrated from OxyContin and the rapid spread of prescribed opioids in the late 1990s to heroin, and more recently the surge of fentanyl and a staggering rise in overdose deaths.
The first three overlapping waves of the epidemic were closely tied to different forms of opioids. We are now in the throes of what experts say is a fourth wave in the epidemic: The widespread use of stimulants and other illicit drugs like fentanyl alongside opioids.
Naloxone and Harm Reduction
Naloxone is a lifesaving drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when administered in time. Learn more about Naloxone.
Where to get naloxone
- Pharmacists in Oregon can now prescribe Naloxone, find a pharmacy that distributes naloxone.
- Local Syringe exchange sites offer naloxone kits and overdose prevention support. Learn more about services offered in Clackamas County.
- If you are a community-based organization in Clackamas County that serves people at-risk of overdose, please complete the Naloxone Kit Request Form to request kits for your staff.
Prescription Drug Disposal and Storage
Sharing or saving medications is a bad idea. Over 80% of misused prescriptions are obtained from someone other than a doctor. People most commonly report they got drugs from a friend or family member. Please remember to store your medications in a safe location and dispose of them when they expire or you are finished with the prescription.
- Store as directed in the original containers the medications come in
- Lock medications in a safe and secure cabinet or drawer
- Monitor medications and always know how much you should have at any given time
- Properly dispose of any unused medications
Medications should not be flushed down the toilet or drain because they can contaminate the local water supply. We have several drug take-back sites in our county to use.
If you are unable to use a disposal site, mix medications into undesirable waste, such as kitty litter, and throw it away. Make sure to remove identifiable patient information from labels before throwing away the medication containers.54766
Help is available if you know someone struggling with addiction: