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New study highlights opioid overdose risk following release from Oregon prisons

By Sheraz Sadiq (OPB)

In Oregon, people released from prison were 10 times more likely to overdose on opioids compared to the general population, according to a new study that tracked prison release and overdose data from 2014 to 2018. The risk of overdose doubled during the first two weeks of release, and formerly incarcerated women were almost twice as likely as men to experience an opioid overdose. A team of scientists from Oregon State University, Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon Department of Corrections shared these findings which were published in the Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment. The study looked at both fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses using data collected from the Department of Corrections, state Medicaid insurance claims for emergency room and hospital admissions, as well as death certificates. Joining us are Dan Hartung, a professor in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University and Elizabeth Waddell, an associate professor at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, to talk about the research and new efforts in Oregon to expand access to substance use treatment both during and after incarceration.

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