Several large Oregon health systems are adopting new prescribing guidelines for opioids.

Last year, there was an average of two opioid overdose deaths per week in Portland.

Hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin, are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. on Feb. 19, 2013.

Hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin, are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. on Feb. 19, 2013.

Toby Talbot/AP

A new report released by Multnomah County Tuesday finds opioids are the most rapidly growing reason for substance misuse in the state.

County Health Officer Paul Lewis said the new prescribing guidelines have several basic pointers for doctors.  

“If you’re going to prescribe opioids at all, make sure you check the prescription drug monitoring guidelines so you know if your patient is getting prescriptions from anybody else,” he said. 

“Limit the amount you prescribe,” he added. “And finally, don’t prescribe other drugs that also can cause overdose in the same kind of way.”

In related news, Oregon’s Attorney General just announced $567,000 will be given to the Oregon Coalition for Responsible Use of Meds and Oregon Health Sciences University to combat opioid abuse.

The money comes from a settlement between the state and the pharmaceutical company Insys for unlawful promotion of one of its products.

“The stories we hear about the astonishingly high rate of opioid addiction and abuse in Oregon are heartbreaking,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

“Both OHSU and OrCRM fill a significant need in our state,” she added in a news release, “and I’m proud that the Oregon Department of Justice can further their efforts and join them in a public education campaign to reduce opioid abuse.”