MEDFORD — Prescription drug abuse continues to be a problem in Jackson County, though local law enforcement and treatment officials say the area might be turning a corner.
Dr. Jim Shames, medical director of Jackson County Health and Human Services and the medical officer for Josephine County, said overdose deaths from prescription drugs have declined since 2006.
The reason for this is local doctors are developing better treatment guidelines and are not overprescribing painkillers that are very addictive.
“It’s still a problem here, just as it’s still a problem everywhere," Shames said.
Federal drug officials recently reported that abuse of prescription drugs is on the decline nationally. The Department of Health and Human Services noted that the number of adults ages 18 and 25 who abuse prescription drugs dropped by 14 percent, from 2 million to 1.7 million, in 2011.
Lt. Brett Johnson, who supervises the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team, said local law enforcement officers still are finding illegal prescriptions on the streets, but the number is lower than in previous years.