May 14,2008 00:00
Oregon State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson released drug-related death statistics for 2007 reflecting a continuing rise since 1999 and the third highest number of these deaths since 1997. The statistics showed a sharp increase in Heroin-related deaths while Methamphetamine and Cocaine-related deaths dropped in comparison to last year's figures.
Statistics released by the State Medical Examiner indicate 231 people died in Oregon during 2007 either from Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, or a combination use of drugs. Following a significant drop in 2001, drug-related deaths continued to rise as the 2007 year statistics were an 8 percent increase for the second straight year increasing over last year's 213 recorded deaths.
A closer look at the 231 drug-related deaths and the frequency of use in the total number of these deaths reflected:
* Heroin use was related to 115 deaths, an increase of 29 percent from last year's 89 deaths and the highest number since 2000 in this category.
* Methamphetamine use was related to 71 deaths, a decrease of 21 percent from last year's 90 deaths and the lowest number since 2002 in this category.
* Cocaine use was related to 55 deaths, a decrease of 14 percent from last year's 64 deaths.
* Combination of drug use was noted in 37 of the deaths, an increase of 18 percent from last year's 31 deaths.
Some counties that showed noticeable increases or decreases include:
* Multnomah County drug-related deaths increased from 95 (2006) to 111 (2007)
* Jackson County drug-related deaths increased from 6 (2006) to 13 (2007) * Clackamas County drug-related deaths increased from 11 (2006) to 16 (2007)
* Washington County drug-related deaths increased from 3 (2006) to 11 (2007)
* Deschutes County drug-related deaths decreased from 6 (2006) to 2 (2007)
* Lane County drug-related deaths decreased from 32 (2006) to 26 (2007)
* Marion County drug-related deaths decreased from 20 (2006) to 15 (2007)
Information for all counties that had at least one drug-related death is available in the 2007 report at at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SME/docs/Drug_Related_Death_Report_2007.pdf.