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Reducing Opioid Overdose and Misuse

Opioid Overdose and Misuse Resources

Oregon Health Authority publishes a quarterly opioid overdose public health surveillance update. This report compiles overdose information from two state-based surveillance systems: the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS) and the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics (ESSENCE). ​

Quarterly Opioid Overdose Data Report (pdf)

> Click to subscribe to the Quarterly Opioid Overdose Data Report

This document provides county-specific snapshots of overdose-related services and projects across Oregon. This information supports Oregon Health Authority (OHA) overdose-prevention funding decisions and county-level public health agencies’ planning and intervention efforts.

Overdose-Related Services & Projects Summary by Oregon County (pdf)


Opioids include prescription painkillers and illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Opioid misuse and overdose are an increasing health threat in Oregon. Despite progress in reducing prescription opioid misuse and overdose, challenges remain. They include recent increases in overdoses from illicit fentanyl and non-opioid drugs such as methamphetamine, which is often mixed with opioids. While prescription opioid deaths have decreased more than 50% since 2006, deaths from synthetic opioids (fentanyl) and heroin have increased dramatically in recent years.

This report describes trends in deaths from unintentional opioid and other types of overdoses, including those from fentanyl, and demographics of decedents. It includes data from two new sources and shows trends in opioid overdose emergency department and urgent care visits, hospitalizations, opioid prescriptions, and utilization of the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, an important tool for clinicians to access information about drugs dispensed to patients to inform safe prescribing. The report describes OHA’s role in the many efforts underway to address the overdose crisis in Oregon. 

Opioid Overdose in Oregon - 2022 (pdf)​


​If you use drugs (even just experimentally, occasionally, or recreationally), you are at risk of overdose. Learn how to prevent, recognize, and respond to a drug overdose with the following resources.​

Get the Facts Overdose Prevention.pdf

Get the Facts Overdose Prevention - Spanish.pdf

Get the Facts Polysubstance Use.pdf

Get the Facts Polysubstance Use - Spanish.pdf

Opioid Crisis in Oregon

Oregon, like the rest of the US, is experiencing an opioid crisis, involving misuse, abuse, overdose and death. Opioids include prescription painkillers and illicit drugs, such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The types of drugs that most commonly cause overdose in Oregon have changed significantly in recent years. While the state has made notable progress in reducing misuse and overdoses related to prescription opioids, there have been significant increases in overdoses from fentanyl and from non-opioid drugs such as methamphetamine, which are often mixed with opioids. Nearly half of opioid-related overdose deaths in Oregon involve more than one drug and/or alcohol.  

In 2022, the risk for unintentional drug overdose death was highest among people who are non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, non-Hispanic Black, male, and people experiencing houselessness. Data from 2022 also indicates that mental illness and substance use disorder are common among people who die from unintentional overdose, yet few of these individuals were receiving treatment for mental health, substance use problems or substance abuse. 

What OHA is Doing

The Oregon Health Authority aims to reduce the burden of opioid misuse and abuse through these key strategies:

  • Increasing equitable access to harm reduction supplies such as naloxone kits, sterile syringes, and fentanyl test strips
  • Supporting overdose response planning and coordination
  • Increasing access to substance use disorder treatment, including medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD)
  • Supporting safe and effective non-opioid pain management 
  • Providing tools and guidelines to support appropriate prescribing 

Current Oregon data suggest that statewide strategies are making an impact:

  • Prescription opioid overdose deaths continued to fall between 2016 and 2020.
  • Registration with the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) became mandatory for all Drug Enforcement Administration-licensed prescribers. Since then, the percentage of prescribers and pharmacists registered with the PDMP has remained high. 
  • Risky prescribing practices involving opioids have decreased substantially since 2018. 

Publications and GuidelinesData DashboardHeal Safely CampaignPrescription Drug Monitoring ProgramReverse Overdose Oregon  Save Lives Oregon

Four Goals for Immediate Action

In November 2023, the Oregon Health Authority Overdose Response Team adopted four goals for immediate action (link) to address the polysubstance and overdose crisis in Oregon:

  1. Engage communities for action
  2. Adjust naloxone distribution
  3. Enhance public awareness and education
  4. Increase outreach, harm reducation, and access to treatment
The Overdose Response Team held regional listening sessions in late 2023 in support of Goal #1. Providers, partners, and members of impacted communities shared insights about Oregon's overdose crisis and provided recommendations on how OHA can improve its response.

OHA is scheduling additional community-focused listening sessions in Spring 2024. The feedback from these sessions will further refine OHA's response to ensure the statewide approach is meaningfully focused on eliminating health inequities associated with substance misuse and overdose.

Prescribing Guidelines

Oregon Health Authority convened experts from across the state from 2016-2019 to develop clinical guidelines on opioid prescribing. These guidelines focus on recommendations to improve patient safety and care.

In 2022, CDC released an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain. This update has expanded guidance on acute and subacute pain, maximizing nonpharmacologic and nonopioid treatment, targets a broader clinical audience spanning from primary care to outpatient settings, and specific implementation considerations. OHA is currently reviewing and revising our prescribing guidelines to reflect updated guidance and best practices

Acute Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Chronic Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Pregnancy and Opioids

Opioid Tapering Guidelines

Getting Help

Opioid use disorder can be treated

Talk to your health care provider or visit the links below for treatment resources.

Pain management resources

    Partnerships & Collaborations

    Addressing the opioid epidemic involves many local, state and national partners. In Oregon, our Opioid Initiative Partnership includes the following groups:

    In Oregon

    National partners

    Using Data to Support Local Overdose Response and Prevention

    OHA is hosting a three-part virtual training series May-June 2024 for Oregon’s Local and Tribal public health leaders and staff to learn more about available data to support their local overdose response and prevention work. OHA will post the meeting recordings following each training.

    Communications Guidance for Overdose Reporting

    Oregon Health Authority developed this communications guidance for Local Mental Health Authorities, as required by 2023 House Bill 2395. The purpose of this guidance is to improve local notifications and information-sharing when a person 24 years of age or younger dies of a suspected drug overdose.

    Please be advised that this document contains information related to youth and young adult drug overdose deaths. Oregon's overdose crisis has impacted every community across the state, and the highly sensitive and tragic nature of these events may cause distress.

    Oregon Overdose Prevention Coordinators

    Since 2020, Oregon Health Authority has funded Local Public Health Authorities in 11 regions to support local overdose prevention work and expand programs and collaborations. This report summarizes the accomplishments of these regions from September 2022 - August 2023.