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Jackson County responds to steep spike in fatal drug overdoses

Drug overdose deaths have been on the rise around the country for a while now, but it was still a shock for Jackson County to record ten overdose deaths in a five-day period in mid-July. By now, we've gotten to know the name of the suspected culprit in most of them: Fentanyl.

The ultra-strong painkiller is not only a drug of choice for some users, it gets mixed into a lot of other drugs, without the users knowing. Jackson County's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Mahan, is a psychiatrist by trade, and therefore well-versed in medications, with additional training in addiction psychiatry. He talks to JPR's Roman Battaglia about the overdose situation and the steps being taken to reduce the toll.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.