PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The Crook County Health Department recently released the results of a community opioid assessment conducted last year, using both qualitative and quantitative data. Data was gathered via hospital overdose admissions; injected drug user-related infections, arrest rates and opioid prescribing rates.
In addition, key informant interviews took place with eight community stakeholders who have direct insight on opioid use in Crook County.
Why assess opioids in Crook County?
Opioid overdoses have increased throughout the state and the region. The goal of the assessment was to: increase data on opioid use and misuse in Crook County in order to understand what our partners are observing; if there has been an increase; and what prevention strategies need to be implemented in order to decrease opioid misuse, overdoses, and hospital related admissions.
The assessment concluded that Crook County has high substance use rates in general, including opioids, but unlike other communities in Oregon opioids are just beginning to emerge. The upward trend of opioid use reveals that if mitigation and prevention measures are not taken, the opioid crisis being observed across the state could be reflected in Crook County.
There are, not surprisingly, some disturbing aspects to the findings, such as the number of heroin-related arrests more than doubling between 2017 and 2018.
Emergency responders say they saw few overdoses eight years ago, but now they are a frequent occurrence.
The drug Narcan (naloxzone) is more readily available, often saving the lives of those in the midst of a heroin overdose.
But the study also found opioids are prescribed at a higher rate in Crook County than the state average.
The county plans to use the data to draft a plan to curb drug abuse and overdoses.
The following strategies are recommended to decrease opioid misuse and lower the risk of opioid overdoses and related hospitalizations.
- Targeted education for specific populations
- Self-efficacy techniques
- Community collaboration and preparedness
- Syringe exchange programs
- Naloxone access
For more information, contact:
Crook County Health Department