The Medford Police Department (MPD) has seen a significant increase in overdoses in Jackson County over the past two months with Narcan treatments doubling since Christmas.
"Right after Christmas we noticed a rise in the number of Narcan deployments that we have actually administered," MPD Chief Scott Clauson said. "We typically will average about one a week and I noticed that during that time we had two deployments a week, one week we had three that we administered."
Clauson said all the individuals were transported to the hospital and thankfully recovered.
Local recovery advocates and officials say the pandemic, seasonal depressive disorders, the fire, and the holidays all likely contributed to this increase.
MPD said it typically sees more overdoses during and following the holidays when people tend to have issues with their family or are alone for the season.
"I think that there are also some bad batches that occasionally come through," Clauson said. "Heroin is typically the culprit and it's often mixed with Fentanyl and the dosages and amounts can vary greatly so that really causes a problem."
Founder of Max's Mission, Julia Pinsky, said she has seen an increase in the need for Naloxone kits in the past six months. Max's Mission was created after Pinsky's son died in 2013 from a heroin overdose. The non-profit organization helps to educate the public on overdoses and offers free emergency kits in case of an overdose.
"We look at it as every life counts. You can't control every situation. But to have naloxone easily available, we think is important," Pinsky said. "I think people really appreciate having them there. It only takes one time to overdose."
Melissa Mayne, Executive Director of Compassion Highway Project (CHP) said she used a Naloxone kit, similar to one of Max's Mission, to save a life of a homeless resident who was found unresponsive at Hawthorne Park on Jan. 23. CHP provides food for those in need three times a week as well as assistance in other areas such as hygiene and housing.
"He (the homeless resident) came back (was responsive) enough that he opened his eyes and you just saw tears and he said, 'why did you bring me back, I don't want to be here' and it broke my heart," Mayne said. "I just told him we couldn't let you go. We care about you too much and it's just so hard to hear that because then I feel kind of feel guilty partly."
If you or someone you know is battling with addiction, Clauson said it is important to have a Naloxone kit handy. The kits provided by Max's Mission can be shipped or picked up. For more information, you can head to their website at maxsmission.org.
"I certainly don't condone the use," Clauson said. "However, I recommend that folks have the kit if they are gonna make that choice. Have somebody, have some kind of buddy system, that's the only thing that's gonna really save them if they do get a bad dosage."