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Learn more about opioids (pills, heroin and fentanyl), signs of overdose and how to get help. Discover how you can safely dispose of unused prescriptions.

Get help

If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol use, there is help available through the Washington County Crisis Line at 503-291-9111. The line is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Hawthorn Walk-in Center is a confidential and FREE resource in Washington County. For other substance use treatment and peer support, please see our Addictions page.

If your child is struggling with drug or alcohol use, they can contact the Oregon YouthLine (text or call) at 1-877-968-8491 or text 'teen2teen' at 839863.

Washington County has a harm reduction program that aims to protect the community and promote public safety by reducing syringe litter in communities, reducing overdose deaths, and connecting individuals to detox and substance use treatment and other services. Visit the harm reduction program information to learn about local syringe exchange locations, where to get Fentanyl test strips, and how to buy naloxone.

Signs of an overdose

Pale or clammy skin
Bluish or pale lips and fingernails
Limp body
Slow or no breathing
Vomiting or foaming at the mouth
Difficult to awaken or not able to awaken

If you or someone you are with shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

To help prevent death, anyone who uses drugs or knows someone who does should carry naloxone. Naloxone is a safe medicine that reverses the effects of opioids and can prevent death when someone overdoses. Naloxone is available over the counter at your local pharmacy. You do not need a prescription or any identification to buy it. Oregon's Good Samaritan Law will protect both the person who administers naloxone, and the person who is overdosing, from prosecution.

Naloxone comes in several forms. Short video trainings are available online to learn how to use the nasal form of naloxone/Narcan or injectable naloxone to reverse opiate overdose.

What are opioids?

Opioids are a group of medications that are prescribed for pain. Some examples of opioids are Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet. Prescription pain pills can help treat severe and sudden pain, such as pain from a car accident or surgery. Opioids can also lead to serious problems such as addiction and death from accidental overdose. Heroin is an illegal opioid that is sold on the street and can be bought in pill or powder form. Opioids are highly addictive substances.

Talk to your doctor about the risks of using opioids. Ask if there are other options to manage your pain. It is not safe to use someone else's medication or to use prescriptions in any way other than how your doctor instructed. Learn more about overdose prevention.

Beware of death from counterfeit pills

Two milligrams of fentanyl shown next to a penny

Cheap, counterfeit opioid pills containing fentanyl are thought to be fueling an increase in fatal drug overdoses across the Portland Metro region. The deaths include teens and other people who didn’t regularly use illicit drugs.

It is very difficult to tell if pills are counterfeit. The amount of fentanyl can vary between pills, even within the same batch. When pills contain more than one substance it can increase the overdose risk, especially if it is mixed with a stronger substance that slows breathing. Anyone who gets pills from anywhere other than a pharmacy should assume that they are counterfeit and contain potentially deadly amounts of fentanyl.

Get rid of extra drugs

Getting rid of unused prescription drugs can help prevent abuse and accidental poisoning. When drugs are in your house, keep them in a secure place. Get rid of old, extra or unused prescription pain pills by taking them to a local drop-off site. Never flush drugs down the toilet or put them in the garbage.

Tri-County Opioid Safety Coalition website

Learn more about efforts to decrease opioid misuse and harm by visiting our Tri-County Opioid Safety Coalition website.