Oregon, like the rest of the US, is experiencing an opioid crisis involving misuse, abuse, overdose, and death. Opioids include prescription painkillers and illicit drugs, such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The types of drugs that most commonly cause an overdose in Oregon have changed significantly in recent years. While the state has made notable progress in reducing misuse and overdoses related to prescription opioids, there have been significant increases in overdoses from fentanyl and non-opioid drugs such as methamphetamine, which are often mixed with opioids. Nearly half of opioid-related overdose deaths in Oregon involve more than one drug and/or alcohol.
In 2020, the risk for unintentional drug overdose death was highest among people who are non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, non-Hispanic Black, male, and people experiencing houselessness. Data from 2020 also indicates that mental illness and substance use disorder is common among people who die from an unintentional overdose, yet few of these individuals received treatment for mental health, substance use problems, or substance abuse.