PENDLETON, Ore.- Umatilla County health officials are leading the way to help fight the opioid crisis in eastern Washington.
The county received $200,000 from the Oregon Health Authority to take the lead on tackling the issue in the region. Umatilla County's public health department recently held a meeting to come up with a plan of action.
The region has higher rates per capita of both opioid prescription fills and dosages than the rest of the state. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of opioid overdose deaths has quadrupled since 1999.
Mike Stensrud, the department's overdose prevention coordinator, said the goal is not only help those who are abusing opioids, but to prevent it in the future.
"We'd like to go upstream and deal with prevention efforts," Stensrud said. "So that involves teaching children, high school students and middle school students. Also reaching out to the community and making sure that they're informed."
If you or anyone you know is abusing opioids and wants help, you can call Lines for Life at 1-800-923-4357 or text RecoveryNow to 839863.
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