EUGENE, Ore. — Drug-related deaths were up 33% in Lane County last year, compared to the year before. The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office found Lane County saw one of the most notable increases with 20 deaths last year, five more than the year before.
Thirteen of the 20 deaths were meth related, nine blamed on heroin, and two were a combination of drugs.
Doctors say these numbers are alarming, and they don’t show the number of people abusing prescription medications.
“Many of these deaths and these injuries are related to prescription drugs being diverted,” says Doctor Patrick Luedtke, the Chief Medical Officer for Community Health Clinics of Lane County. “Thirty years ago that was not as much of an issue in this country, even ten years ago, and now were have 60-70% of all overdose-deaths related to diverted, legal medications.”
Diversion means you took a prescription drug that wasn’t prescribed to you. He says it’s a big problem, and a major concern among doctors.