NewsEmergency declared in downtown Portland, Oregon due to the fentanyl epidemic

Emergency declared in downtown Portland, Oregon due to the fentanyl epidemic

Emergency declared in downtown Portland, Oregon due to the fentanyl epidemic
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11:04 AM EST, January 31, 2024, updated: 7:03 AM EST, February 1, 2024

Oregon officials have announced a state of emergency in downtown Portland, responding to a crisis in public health and safety resulting from fentanyl.

Fentanyl: What you need to know

Fentanyl was first developed in 1959 and marketed in the 1960s as an intravenous anesthetic. Stimulates serotonin production, reduces plasma endorphins. Has a direct effect on the central nervous system. Like other opioids, it causes very strong addiction.

How dangerous this drug is shown by overdose statistics. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, 73,654 people in USA died from a fentanyl overdose in 2022. The number of fentanyl fatalities has increased every year over the past ten years.

Portland declares fight against drug epidemic

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson have declared a state of emergency for 90 days. During this time, a command center in downtown will coordinate efforts and responses. They are instructing their respective agencies to collaborate with emergency services to assist those addicted to the synthetic opioid by linking them with resources like drug treatment programs, as well as intensifying efforts to curb drug trafficking.

- Our country and our state have never seen a drug this deadly addictive, and all are grappling with how to respond, - Oregon Governor said in a statement.

Over the next 90 days, individuals in downtown Portland struggling with fentanyl addiction who encounter first responders will be assessed by the newly established command center. The center's staff will offer a range of support, including placement in drug treatment facilities, consultations with behavioral health clinicians, and assistance in applying for food stamps."

- We cannot underestimate the tremendous value of bringing leaders from different disciplines in a room on a daily basis who all account for a different part of the solution - point out Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement.

International outlook

According to experts, the widespread availability of fentanyl is due to smuggling of the drug from Latin America. And the ingredients for its production are supplied by Chinese chemical companies. On November 15, 2023, Xi Jinping, leader of the People's Republic of China, visited the United States. The Asia-Pacific Economic Community summit was held in San Francisco that day. President Joe Biden introduced Xi to the problem of the drug supply chain originating in China.

Biden's November conversation with Xi ended with an agreement. The Chinese chairman pledged to help the United States curb the illegal supply of deadly fentanyl.

Source: ABC News

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