Officials worry Portland heroin overdose spike is due to super-potent illegal drugs

A former heroin addict shows KATU News a bottle of Naloxone, an antidote used to reverse effects of an overdose (KATU News photo)

Health officials in Multnomah County are worried a recent spike in heroin overdoses this week in downtown Portland is due to what may be a deadly dose of super-potent illegal drugs making their way onto the city's streets.

Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines says as many as eight non-fatal overdoses were reported Wednesday night, which caused them to send out a public alert about the spike.

Luckily, no one has died from those overdoses. Due to the unusually high number of overdoses in one night, county health officials believe the patients may have been using an unusually powerful strain of heroin.

Multnomah County is currently all out of Naloxone, an antidote drug that can be used to reverse an overdose.

The county health department's needle exchange vans will soon get a new shipment of the antidote, hoping to distribute it as widely as possible to help keep overdoses from turning deadly.

Health officials emphasize the first thing you should do if someone's overdosing is call 911. Sometimes a single dose of antidote isn't enough and emergency medical responders can administer more if it's needed. The antidote can bring someone down from an overdose in a matter of few minutes.

Correction: An earlier version stated the spike was due to Fentanyl. Health officials don't know at this time exactly what drug caused the overdose spike.

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