PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Local leaders are warning of an alarming trend of an increase in overdoses and deaths across the state of Oregon tied to fentanyl-laced drugs.

Both the Washington and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Offices say they are seeing an alarming number of counterfeit opioid pills containing fentanyl. In extremely small doses, fentanyl can be deadly. The agencies, along with Multnomah County Public Health, AMR and the Beaverton School District, say the overdoses and deaths are happening in most age groups from teens to older adults and in all backgrounds.

“In the last year or so, we have seen a huge uptick in narcotics and specifically in pills that look like oxycodone,” AMR Paramedic Dan Hall said.

“This year alone, the win team has investigated 14 overdose deaths, and 10 of those are suspected to be caused by a counterfeit fit prescription drug containing fentanyl,” Washington County Sergeant Danny DiPietro said.

He adds for the same time period, in 2020, the agency only saw three deaths, and in 2019 only one.


KPTV File Image

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said in Oregon last year, more than 733,000 counterfeit pills were seized, compared to 2015 when that number was zero. The agencies say the pills are coming from abroad and also being manufactured in the state.

“They are sold on the street for as little as $10 to $15. It is incredibly potent and dangerous,” Reese said.

The impact is being felt across the board. The Beaverton School District says in the last 18 months, several students have lost their lives because of fentanyl.

“Teenagers who had hopes and dreams and plans. These teenagers had families who loved them and are still coming to grips with their losses,” Superintendent Don Grotting said.

DiPietro said when it comes to teens getting the drugs, it is often coming from friends or a friend of a friend. He adds these teens feel safer in buying them but says taking them can turn deadly quickly.

“Anyone who gets pills from anywhere other than a pharmacy should assume they are counterfeit and contain deadly amounts of fentanyl,” Dr. Jennifer Vines with Multnomah County Public Health said.

The Beaverton School District plans to launch a campaign at the end of April addressing the dangers of these pills and providing resources for families and staff.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


Recommended for you

(12) comments


Need to assess clearly who is the victim in these cases. It is society in general, not the drug user/abusers. It is time for a true shaming campaign in the schools similar to the stop smoking campaigns and Mothers against Drunk Driving campaigns in the 1980's that actually worked to change the attitudes of children and parents.

Worst PDX Mayor Ever

You mean like that which was the actual cause in the death of George Floyd? Three times the lethal level of fentanyl in his system. Did Ofcr Chauvin force Floyd to swallow all of those pills? What's the point of this story? To create sympathy for those who are overdosing and dying? This is called natural selection. You do drugs, there are consequences. Why would anyone take that stuff, knowing how many people are dying from it? This is coming from Mexico, by way of China. If Trump were still in office, he'd be holding China accountable. But with Biden, he's buddies with China, and he enriches his family's financials with his dealings there. He doesn't care the China keeps hacking us. He doesn't care that China's drugs and now their intentional virus is kiIIing millions of people around the world, and in this country. Joe only cares about lining his pockets, just the NBA is doing with China. Sickening..all of it is just sickening and disgraceful.


George Floyd died from fentanyl.


Surprised race wasnt used in this.


Well, they could not just take them. I mean unless someone is holding a gun to their head, just walk away. It's not Rocket Science.


What do you expect? Lawsuits against Pharmaceutical manufactures, the "war on drugs" even now Oregon is giving up on.

Before, well before, people, groups, organizations and government began their crusade against cannabis, cocaine, hydrocodone and LSD there was little chance of it being "walked on" with the dangerous poison being sent to the streets now.

We're drugs a problem then? Sure. We're people unknowingly ingesting poison? Not nearly as much.

Go ahead, fire away.


You mean the virus isn't the only thing killing people. Perhaps, the tyrant queen should declare an emergency and mandate us out of this problem.


Time for another lockdown


Just the beginning of the crisis. Decriminalized and an open southern border will really increase overdoses. Thank you liberal Oregon voters for helping to further our homeless population and the destruction of a once wonderful state and city. Your compassion is misplaced.


Dont worry there is a tax that can fix those problems!




Don't worry. Every one of those overdoses will be voting Democrat in the next election.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.