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Letters, Aug. 23

Oregon not the lowest

Dr. Shames pointed out that Oregon has made progress in the rate at which we’ve reduced deaths from opioids in the story “Oregon now has the fewest opioid overdoses” (Aug. 11), but the latest complete year data from CDC indicates that eight states have overdose rates lower than Oregon’s. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/drug_poisoning_mortality/drug_poisoning.htm.

The Medford area has seen about four times the number of opioid overdoses this year as compared with last, or approximately 22 by the end of June. The presence of fentanyl in our community has been confirmed. Anyone can affect this too-often grim situation by learning to use naloxone.

I’m a trainer for Max’s Mission, the community naloxone distribution organization. Naloxone is the medication that reverses opioid overdose. It is effective against fentanyl. It is legal for citizens to possess and use for suspected overdose. It will not hurt a person who does not have an opioid in their system. Any pharmacist can dispense naloxone to you at your request. OHP covers naloxone without a copay.

I’m active with Oregon Pain Guidance. This issue of accurate public education about the opioid crisis is important to us.

Sara Smith, RN, BSN, La Clinica controlled substance and substance abuse case manager


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