The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) responded to 11 overdose calls alone on March 31, with three resulting in death, according to a statement by police.
“Four of these calls occurred in less than an hour,” the statement reads. “We suspect at this time the majority of them were a result of fentanyl usage.”
3 dead from likely drug overdoses in downtown Portland in less than 12 hours, cops say.
11 overdose calls total, most involving fentanyl. https://t.co/xN7QdoC3sL
7 of those — including two fatal ones — within six blocks or less of SW 4th & Washington.
— Shane Dixon Kavanaugh (@shanedkavanaugh) April 2, 2023
Among those dead are a 33-year-old man, a 25-year-old woman and an unidentified individual according to KPTV FOX 12 Oregon. Police say Narcan was used as a life-saving measure on six different occasions.
In 2021 alone, fentanyl accounted for 70,000 overdose deaths, according to The Washington Post. CDC statistics estimate 150 daily deaths from overdoses related to opiates like fentanyl. Fentanyl is often added to illicit substances for increased potency without the knowledge of buyers.
Oregon, in 2020, passed the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act which aimed to alleviate addiction by decriminalizing hard drugs. Despite this aim, overdose rates rose by 20% in 2022, complicating the goals of the legislation, according to KATU. (RELATED: ‘Finding Needles’: Liberal State’s Effort To Decriminalize Hard Drugs Turns Disastrous, Critics Say)
Supporters of the bill believed decimalization “reduces the stigma of addiction,” as reported by KATU. Still, a majority of addicts in the state have reportedly not availed themselves of the available treatment options.
These incidents are not isolated: earlier last month police responded to nine overdose calls with three resulting deaths over the span of five days, according to WGME. At the time, Portland had already recorded 96 overdoses resulting in 11 deaths in 2023, the report continued.
Oregon ranks second highest among U.S states for substance abuse, with one out of every five adults addicted, according to Fox News.