There was a total of 222 drug-related deaths in Oregon last year with more than half of them involving methamphetamine, according to Oregon State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson.
In Umatilla County, there were three drug-related deaths in 2013 – all involving methamphetamine. There were no drug-related deaths last year in Morrow County, according to the report issued by Gunson.
Preliminary drug-related death statistics showed the lowest number of cocaine-related deaths in 2013 and highest number of methamphetamine-related deaths since 2000.
Gunson said the drug-related deaths involved heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or a combination use of those drugs. Three years ago in 2011, Oregon reported the highest number of drug-related deaths when 240 people died from the abuse of illicit drugs.
According to Gunson, there were 123 meth-related deaths in Oregon last year – a 32-percent increase from the previous year’s total of 93 and the highest recorded since 2000. More than 55 percent of all drug-related deaths were associated with methamphetamine use. Multnomah County had a 62-percent increase in meth-related deaths with 45 in 2013.
Last year’s heroin-related deaths (111) were a 25-percent decrease from the previous year’s 147 deaths, which was the highest number since the beginning of 2000. More than half (65) of heroin-related deaths happened in Multnomah County, and Clackamas County recorded 13 deaths which is an increase from last year’s eight recorded deaths in this category.
There were 12 cocaine-related deaths in 2013, which were the fewest recorded since the beginning of 2000 and a 35-percent decrease from the previous year’s 19 reported deaths. The highest number was reported in 2000 when 69 people died from illicit use in this category. Cocaine-related deaths occurred only in Multnomah (9), Lincoln, Malheur, and Yamhill counties.
Gunson noted the majority of methamphetamine-related deaths are not overdoses but actually related to some other event such as traffic crashes, drowning or other traumatic events. Methamphetamine use is also linked to seizures and sudden elevation in blood pressure which can cause strokes and heart attacks.
Forty-five percent of drug-related deaths in 2013 happened in Multnomah County, a drop of one death compared to last year’s 103 deaths.
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