Deaths from heroin use jump by 29 percent

From the Oregonian, May 14, 2008

Heroin-related deaths spiked last year, while casualties from methamphetamine and cocaine dropped from year-earlier totals, Oregon State medical examiner Karen Gunson said Tuesday.

Overall, the number of 2007 drug-related deaths in Oregon was higher than in any year since 1999.

“The jump in heroin-related deaths is very alarming and the highest in that category for the last seven years,” Gunson said. “There is nothing in these statistics to celebrate.”

Last year, 231 people died in the state from heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or a combination of drugs. That was up 8 percent from 2006.

Heroin accounted for 115 of the deaths, a 29 percent increase from the year before. The deaths of several high school and college students from heroin in recent months have attracted headlines.

Meth accounted for 71 deaths, a decrease of 21 percent. Cocaine was blamed for 55 of the deaths, a drop of 14 percent.

Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties all showed significant increases in drug deaths during the year.

See – Drug-related Death Report for 2007