Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect corrected numbers.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Drug overdose deaths had been increasing ever so slightly in Oregon from 2015 through the end of 2019, but by the end of 2020, the numbers shot upward. 

In 2022, the number of overdose deaths nearly doubled what it was in 2019. 

According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 1,161 people died from drug overdoses in Oregon in 2022.

A number that large is difficult to grasp, especially when only three years earlier, in 2019, 610 people in Oregon died of drug overdoses. The number of deaths has increased by 47%. 

Oregon’s drug overdose deaths aren’t unique to the state. According to the NCHS, they also began a sharp ascent in the United States in early 2020. 

However, the U.S. hasn’t seen as great of a percentage increase in overdose deaths as Oregon. Between 2019 and 2022, overdose deaths in the U.S. rose 32%. 

The U.S. saw a 2% decrease in drug overdose deaths from December 2021 to December 2022. 

“The biggest percentage increase in overdose deaths in 2022 occurred in Washington and Wyoming, where deaths were up 22%,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in a press release when it released the late 2022 drug overdose death data on May 18, 2023. 

In Oregon, opioids, synthetic opioids, psychostimulants with abuse potential, heroin, natural and semi-synthetic opioids were responsible for the most deaths in 2022. 

Some examples of psychostimulants include methamphetamine and ecstasy. Natural opioids include medications such as morphine and codeine. However, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. 

The 2022 data is the latest available from the NCHS. The CDC said data for 2023 so far will not be available until the fall. 

The NCHS receives the data on drug overdose deaths from state vital registration offices. 

The CDC said Oregon’s drug overdose death numbers are underreported due to incomplete data, meaning it’s possible even more people died from drugs in 2022 than what the report shows. 

In July 2022, the Oregon Health Authority said the sharp increase in drug overdose deaths from 2019 to 2021 was driven largely by misuse of fentanyl. 

“Over the last 30 months, fentanyl has become a leading cause of overdose deaths, particularly among people who don’t have access to harm-reduction services,” OHA wrote in a press release. 

State health officials urged communities to increase their naloxone supplies. The rescue drug can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. 

In the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers have been trying to pass a series of bills that would make naloxone more accessible. 

In 2021, OHA analysts found that nearly a third of Oregon’s counties saw more people die from fentanyl overdose than overdose from any other drug.