Suspected Overdose Fatalities in Multnomah County Now Exceed Last Year’s Confirmed Total

There’s been 516 so far this year. A vast majority involved fentanyl.

IN TROUBLE: Two people smoke fentanyl in downtown Portland. (Blake Benard)

Multnomah County has reached a grim milestone: As of last week, it had tallied more suspected fatal drug overdoses than last year’s confirmed total.

Tests so far show that a vast majority of those involved fentanyl, the powerful opioid that is causing a nationwide crisis as users quickly become addicted and can easily overdose.

Related: On Portland’s Fentanyl Corner, a Dance With Death Sells for $20

That crisis, at least in Multnomah County, does not appear to be abating. There’s been 516 fatal drug overdoses so far this year, according to data given to WW by Multnomah County on Oct. 3. That’s six more than last year’s total of fatalities confirmed by the county medical examiner to be drug related.

This year’s number includes 189 suspected overdoses that are still awaiting toxicology testing for confirmation. Of the 327 cases this year that have been tested, 79% involved fentanyl. The rate was 65% last year.

The county has taken down the website that had, until recently, been tracking some overdose data. “We’re transitioning our data to the county website which should be available soon,” a spokesperson said last week, and directed WW to a dashboard maintained by the Oregon Health Authority that does not include any data from this year.

Data courtesy of Multnomah County

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