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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)​


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 2020, 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 2020 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

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.

Acute Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Chronic Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Pregnancy and Opioids

Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Dentists

Opioid Tapering Guidelines