Oregon State Penitentiary (Oregon Department of Corrections)
Oregon State Penitentiary (Oregon Department of Corrections)

According to a new study of Oregon data, persons recently released from prison are ten times more likely to die from an opioid overdose.

 Study conducted by the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy

The Oregon Department of Corrections has released the results of the study, which also included work and contributions from researchers at Portland State and the Oregon Department of Corrections.

The researchers utilized a lot of Medicaid claim data because lower-income insurance is most associated with those who have been recently released from prison. According to 2014-2018 data, 90 percent of people released in Oregon enrolled in Medicaid.

This data showed, according to the Oregon State Department of Corrections:

"The rate of 1,086 per 100,000 person years far exceeded that of the general public in Oregon – 93 overdoses per 100,000 person years – and also a Medicaid population of new prescription opioid users, whose rate was 247 per 100,000 person years."

The study also said:

"Nearly two-thirds of all adults in custody in the United States have a documented substance use disorder, Kempany said. According to data from 2019 cited in this research, roughly 1.4 million people in the United States are housed in state and federal prisons, and more than 600,000 are released from custody each year."

In Oregon, the largest group of people released from prison between 2014 and 2017 (18,000) were in the 26-64 age group--80 percent of releases.

Of those, over 66 percent were documented to have some sort of need for treatment due to substance abuse. The primary source, say officials, is some sort of opioid addiction.

Women also had a very high overdose rate as well, and the study said the highest risk for these people overdosing was within the first two weeks after their release from an Oregon correctional facility.


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