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Spilled bottle of opioid pills on a table

Opioid overdose risk is 10 times greater for those recently released from prison

Findings from OHSU, OSU underscore need for expanded, improved programming to protect people re-entering communities

People recently released from incarceration face a risk of opioid overdose 10 times greater than the general public, according to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Corrections.

The research, which will appear in the April issue of the Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment, also found that risk of overdose is highest among women and in the first two weeks following release from incarceration.

Elizabeth Needham Waddell, M.A., Ph.D., (OHSU)

Elizabeth Waddell PhD“Drug overdose, and opioid overdose specifically, is a leading cause of death among people who have recently been in prison — and it’s happening right here in our Oregon communities,” said Elizabeth Waddell, Ph.D., associate professor in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health and the study’s senior author. “It’s crucial that we do more to identify those who are at highest risk and implement interventions that support the health of these individuals who are at such a pivotal crossroad.”

For more information read the full article.

Tune in to Dr. Elizabeth Waddell’s LIVE interview on Oregon Public Radio’s Think out Loud. The replay can be found here.