Oregon is reported to have the highest rate of prescription medication abuse in the country, particularly involving prescription opioid pain relief drugs. Other figures show that the state sees over 50,000 people enrolling in inpatient or residential addiction treatment centers for intensive health care services on an annual basis.
For some of the residents of this state, substance abuse and addiction are devastating, costly, and persistent problems. These issues often have far-reaching consequences for families and children alike.
Research studies report that Oregon is ranked among the top American states for several drug use and addiction categories. It comes at the 1st position for marijuana and prescription pain relief medication abuse, 2nd for methamphetamine abuse, and 4th for the abuse of alcohol and cocaine. Further, it is in the 21st position in terms of the rates of heroin abuse and addiction. This is according to the NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for the 2016 to 2017 period.
For more than a decade now, the state has witnessed an increase in the abuse of prescription pain relief opioid medications. This is not exactly surprising considering that doctors wrote prescriptions for this class of drugs for every 1 in 4 citizens of the state. This goes to show that these substances are widely available among its citizenry - making it relatively easy for people to access and abuse them even without a valid prescription written by a doctor or any other health care professional.
In 2018, it was also reported that close to 6.5 percent of its population above the age of 12 years had abused prescription opioid pain relief medications at least once in their lives. This number was much higher than the total averages at the national level, which were estimated to be about 4.6 percent.
Among people enrolling in an addiction treatment and rehabilitation facility in Oregon, the drugs that are most commonly cited include sedatives, cocaine, heroin, stimulants like amphetamines, marijuana, meth, and prescriptions opioids.
After prescription opioids, meth is the 2nd most serious drug threat for the citizens of this state. This substance is smuggled into the state in large amounts by Mexican drug trafficking organizations - in the form of crystal, liquid, and powder.
The drug has also brought an increase in the number of crimes across the state. This is why law enforcement officials have been cracking down on their drug related arrests. Since 2009, for instance, for instance, the total number of arrests linked to meth more than doubled.
Over 24 percent of law enforcement officials list heroin as one of the major drug threats in the state. Heroin and prescription opioids have caused a total of 154 and 151 deaths respectively. This is at a rate of 3.7 and 3.4 fatalities for every segment of 100,000 people. The total number of overdose deaths linked to this class of drugs was 339 fatalities at a rate of 8 deaths for a similar segment in 2018.
The same year, health care service providers in the state of Oregon wrote more than 57 prescriptions for opioids for every segment of 100 people. This was higher than the average prescribing rate of 51 prescriptions for a similar segment in the United States.
Recovery centers in Oregon provide treatment and rehabilitation services for over 50,000 people every year - a number that should go up if the substance abuse and addiction problem among the residents of this state is to be reduced and eventually eliminated.