Health | Oregon

Prescription Overdose Deaths Almost Double Oregon's Homicide Rate

OPB | Nov. 21, 2010 10 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:06 a.m. | Portland, OR

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Oregon’s governor, attorney general, and top federal prosecutor are convening a summit Monday in Portland to tackle the abuse of prescription drugs.

Summit organizers say that pain killers like oxycodone are a growing health threat.

They say they’re highly addictive.  And, the drugs are easily accessible whether the users are long-time addicts, or curious young people who may assume prescribed drugs are safer than illegal ones.

Tom Parker is with Oregon Partnership, a group focused on reducing drug abuse and suicide.

Tom Parker: “Last year, we had almost 200 Oregonians die of prescription drug overdoses – that’s almost twice the homicide rate. That is a huge problem.”

Summit organizers expect not just top elected officials, like Governor Ted Kulongoski and Attorney General John Kroger, but representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, as well.

Parker says he’s hoping the summit’s brain-storming session will produce workable solutions.

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