Oregon Drug Rehab Has Saved Thousands Of Lives
Oregon is known for the farming and agricultural that it provides for it’s state, along with beautiful lakes, parks and museums. Oregon is also known to be the beaver state. Their state flag has a beaver on the opposite side making them the only state to have a different pattern than the reversed side. This state is populated with over 3 million people and has a dominated drug market that the Mexican traffickers use as their transshipment point. This is causing Oregon drug rehab programs to step up and fight addiction more and more everyday.
Methamphetamine is considered to be one of the most significant drugs that threaten Oregon. Although the state also has concerns with cocaine, heroin, and marijuana use. Meth is manufactured, abused and trafficked throughout the state of Oregon. The availability is higher than ever in the state and is the most abused substance. Meth powder was more common in the past but the state has seen a switch to a more potent and deadly form of Methamphetamine that is called “crystal” or “ice”.
Marijuana is readily available and is a major abused drug throughout the state. Transporting and distributing this drug is mainly done by the Asian, Mexican and Caucasian drug trafficking organizations. Mexican Black tar heroin is the most common in Oregon and is controlled mostly by the Mexican drug traffickers that are throughout Oregon. This type of heroin is transported to Oregon from the Southwest Border states.
Cocaine is another drug that poses a problem and is available all over Oregon. In the urban areas you will find some crack cocaine. Cocaine can be bought from Mexican drug traffickers, independent dealers, prison and street gangs. LSD, MDMA “Club Drugs” can be most likely found around social venues and around the college campuses. This type of drug is brought into Oregon from Canada, Mexico, and California. Also individuals can buy Club Drugs through the Internet.
Drugs in Oregon are controlled primarily by trafficking organizations originating in Mexico. Oregon has become a distribution hub for drugs headed to Montana, Illinois, New York and Minnesota.
Mexican drug cartels bring most of the drugs into Oregon. They bring cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana throughout the state. Asian criminal gangs in Canada bring more drugs. Vietnamese gangsters specialize in a particularly potent brand of marijuana. There expertise lies in bypassing power meters to hide their electricity use in grow houses.
Drugs flow into Oregon from both its southern and northern borders, which leaves the state vulnerable and in need of effective law enforcement and rehabilitation of its citizens. Cocaine and heroin come in from southern states, while Canada sends in methamphetamine. The state’s major highway systems are perfect set-ups for major dealers.
Oregon has some unfortunate standing for drug abuse within the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2009-2010, Oregon was one of the top ten states in:
- Past-month illicit drug use among persons age 12 or older and among young adults age 18-25.
- Past-month marijuana use among persons age 12 or older and among young adults age 18-25.
- Past-month illicit use of drugs other than marijuana among persons age 12 or older and among young adults age 18-25.
- Past-year cocaine use among persons age 12-17.
- Past-year non-medical use of pain relievers among persons age 12 or older and among young adults age 18-25.
- Illicit drug dependence among persons age 12 or older and among young adults age 18-25.
According to the Threat Assessment and Counter-Drug Strategy of the Oregon Department of Justice, drug offenders account for the largest group of prisoners in the state. They account for more than double those incarcerated for theft, assault and burglary.
According to the National Substance Abuse Index, 19,331 Oregonians, 34.5 percent of the state, abuse alcohol only. Those who abuse alcohol with another substance account for 19.8 percent of the state’s population.
Men account for 75 percent of alcohol abusers. The National Centers for Disease Control reported that in 2006, Oregon lost $2.8 billion from alcohol abuse, or $1.75 per drink. The losses were due to lost productivity, expenses from health care and resulting crime.
Drinking begins early in Oregon, as the region’s 8th graders use alcohol and illicit drugs at twice the national average. A 2013 Healthy Teens Survey found that alcohol is the most abused drug by American teens. The survey, 19.6 percent of Klamath and Lake county juniors admitted to having one or two drinks of alcohol within the last 30 days. The statewide average was 18 percent.
According to the 2013 Prevention Status Report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking to excess in Oregon results in 1,302 deaths, which represents 33,933 years of lost potential life. Oregon adults reported in 2011, 16.5 percent of adults reported that they indulged in binge drinking in the past month.
Binge drinking is a problem in the entire U.S. The definition of binge drinking is 5 more more drinks per occasion for men and 4 more more for women. Binge drinking is a factor in half the deaths when alcohol was the major contributing factor.
Recommendations and Grading of Oregon’s Alcohol Controls
The Community Preventive Services Task Force of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using laws, taxes and regulations to help curb alcohol abuse. The following shows the status of the state as of January 1, 2012. The recommendations include:
Increase of excise taxes on beer, distilled spirits and wine. It has been demonstrated that increasing the cost of alcoholic drinks will reduce consumption, a goal for the state. The following cost changes were found in Oregon.
The excise tax on beer was less than $0.08 per gallon for beer containing 5 percent alcohol by volume. There are no taxes based on price rather than volume. It is recommended by the task force that excise taxes be enacted at a rate of at least $1.00 per gallon.
Studies have shown that a 10 percent increase in the cost of beer results in 5 percent lower consumption. Oregon’s evaluation by the task force rated in the red, or danger, zone compared to the rest of the country.
Oregon controlled the sale of distilled spirit (containing 40 percent alcohol by volume) at both the wholesale and retail levels. The prices combined taxes and mark-ups, so taxation rate could not be determined. The task force recommends that the alcohol excise taxes be increased. Studies show that a 10 percent increase in the cost of distilled spirits should lower consumption by 8 percent.
The costs of wine (at 12 percent alcohol level) at retail and wholesale levels were raised, but like the distilled spirit costs, the taxes and mark-ups were combined. The same studies show that a 10 percent increase in the cost of wine should decrease consumption by about 6 percent.
Enact commercial host liability laws. By January 1, 2011, Oregon enacted a commercial host liability (dram shop) law that had significant limitations. It has been demonstrated that these liability laws can reduce alcohol-related harms that include a median of 6.4 percent reductions in motor vehicle accident deaths.
These dram shop laws hold retailers responsible if their patrons caused alcohol-related injuries or deaths because they were served while intoxicated or were under the legal drinking age of 21 years. Oregon’s current laws were rated by the task force as in the yellow, or cautious, zone.
Tighter regulation by local entities on alcohol outlet density. The task force has shown that tighter regulation, particularly by local regulators, on the density of alcohol retailing establishments can help prevent severe drinking and its harm from injuries and violence. The regulation of density in Oregon is in the red, or danger, zone.
The Marijuana Drug Culture in Oregon
Oregon’s state lawmakers convened their 2014 short session on February 3. One of the top issues is legalizing marijuana for adults while regulating the drug as they do alcohol.
They are considering putting the measure on the ballot in November to give voters a chance to weigh in on the measure. A poll taken in May 2013 found that 63 percent supported taxing, regulating and legalizing the drug.
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program registry program operates within the Public Health Division, Oregon Health Authority. They approved applications to operate 8 dispensaries on March 21, 2014. The registry will continue to process the applications weekly.
Oregon decriminalized the possession of small amounts of the drug. Oregon ranked #4 in 2007 for the severity of penalties for offenses. For the possession of one ounce or less, the penalty is only a maximum fine of $1,000 with no jail or prison time. For amounts of two to four ounces, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Marijuana possession arrests were 94 percent of all marijuana arrests in Oregon during 2007. Nationally, possession accounted for 89 percent. In 2007, there were 8,642 arrests for possession and 559 arrests for sales of the drug. Nationally, arrests for possession of marijuana rose 2.93 percent annually. In Oregon, however, arrests increased by 7.59 percent.
Club Drug Use in Oregon
Ecstasy is often seized in multi-kilogram amounts throughout Oregon. MDMA, GHB and Mexican ketamine are used throughout Oregon, mainly in bigger cities as well as college campuses.
The newest club drug is called mephedrone, or “sunshine” in the Northwest, including Oregon. Mephedrone was supposed to have been concocted in a Tel Aviv lab in 2007 and quickly took off. The drug has caught on in clubs around the world.
The new drug energizes, but does not have as harsh and effect as cocaine. Heavy users, though, are often affected by vasculitis and vasoconstriction, giving them bluish tinges to their feet and knees. Only one state has so far declared mephedrone illegal.
In Oregon, the average age of users of club drugs is dropping and racial/cultural groups who have not traditionally used club drugs are now beginning to experiment.
Methamphetamine Use in Oregon
Methamphetamine use began to explode in the 1980s and has shown no signs of slowing. Oregon was the first state in the U.S. to require that pseudoephedrine, a main component of the drug, be sold only if the buyer had a prescription.
The prescription requirement was enacted to make it harder for meth drug labs to make the drug and was one of the toughest laws in the country. The law worked. Monthly seizures dropped from 41 to 9. Although local labs are more restricted, meth from Canada and Mexico are filling the gaps.
Labs where the drug is manufactured are notoriously dangerous, filling the air with dangerous chemicals and having severe danger of fires and explosions. In 2004, Oregon had about 400 lab incidents. By 2008, that number had dropped to 20.
Meth deaths dropped 21 percent in 2007 over the previous year. However, in 2010, deaths increased 22 percent over 2010. In 2007, 33 pounds were seized by federal agents, down from 101.6 pounds in 2006. Meth accounted for 12.9 percent of treatment admissions for rehabilitation in 2010.
Cocaine is available throughout the state and crack cocaine can be bought in some urban areas. Mexican traffickers provide most of the drug’s distribution, bringing it into the state from Mexico and through California and other southwestern states.
The retail sales of cocaine are usually handled by Mexican drug trafficking groups, street and prison gangs and local independent dealers. Federal authorities seized 63.7 pounds of cocaine in 2007, up from 36.4 pounds in the previous year.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services release statistics from 2005 that showed the racial divide in cocaine use. Of those seeking treatment for powder cocaine dependence, 67 percent were white and 17 percent were African-America. When it came to crack cocaine addiction, 57 percent were African-American and 34 were white.
The 1990s was a dangerous decade for heroin users. The drug became widely available, focused in Multnomah County and the city of Portland. The use of heroin there rose 600 percent in the 90s.
The next influx of heroin came as a result of a law enforcement crackdown on methamphetimine in 2008. Heroin was far cheaper and gave the user a much stronger high. In a heartbeat, heroin became epidemic.
In 2007, police reported that there were 115 heroin overdoses resulting in death, an increase of 29 percent over those in 2006. Most of the deaths from heroin come from the user’s ignorance of their tolerance. Heroin depresses the central nervous system, which can far more easily cause death, usually when the user has slipped into unconsciousness.
Black tar heroin comes into Oregon from Mexico, up to Interstate 5 corridor. Federal authorities in 2007 seized 19 pounds, double the amount in 2006.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner reported that there were 90 to 100 deaths per year 10 years ago and that the number of deaths have exploded to more than 140 deaths both in 2011 and 2012.
Abuse of Prescription Drugs
Oregon has a burgeoning abuse of those prescription drugs, far ahead of most states. The epidemic has grown 450 percent in number of deaths from using prescription drugs. In Oregon in 2009, the number of deaths from overdoses of prescribed drugs finally overtook the number of deaths from automobile accidents. There are more statistics that paint a more vivid picture of Oregon’s drug problem.
- As of 2008, Oregon was the top state in the use of opioids by those 18 to 25 years old.
- While Oregon is currently 27th out of the 50 United States in population, they are fifth in the non-medical use of prescribed painkillers.
- By 2013, Oregon had the 21st highest overdose mortality rate in the U.S., with 12.9 per 100,000 people suffering overdose fatalities.
- There were nearly 700 poisoning deaths from the use of prescription drugs in the state from the years 2003 to 2007.
While marijuana may help some, it doesn’t help every patient in pain. About 100 million Americans have chronic pain, nearly one-third of the population. Chronic pain costs the U.S. From $560-635 billion every year, about $2,000 for each citizen.
When Drugs Move From Treatment to Abuse
While prescription drugs have been developed to legitimately help treat severe and real pain, those drugs have attracted those who are looking for a high instead.
The Oregon College of Emergency Physicians has established a standard of prescribing opioid drugs for use in emergency departments. There is also signage posted in the waiting rooms that explain the policy to patients and families.
In 2012, Oregon began a prescription monitoring program within the state that helped medical providers find out if a patient under their care has filled any opioid prescriptions in the state within the past three years. This tool is available to any physician, whether in an ER, a hospital or in a clinical setting. Those who may be addicted or drug seeking can be identified much easier than without the tool.
According to an Issue Brief of the National Governors Association: Six Strategies for Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse reported that currently 7 million in the U.S. either abuse or misuse prescription drugs, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Policy Academy was developed by the National Governors Associations Center for Best Practices.
Here are the facts that led the Association to implement the strategies:
- In 2009, more than 15,500 persons died in the U.S. by overdosing on oxycodone and hydrocodone, four times the number in the previous decade. The number of deaths from these two drugs now surpass those from heroin and cocaine combined.
- It was reported that in 2010, 2.4 million aged It was reported that in 2010, 2.4 million aged 12 or older used prescription drugs not legally prescribed for them for the first time. Most of these used opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.
- Most of of these illicit users, 70 percent, had access to a home medicine supply by stealing them from a relative who stored the drugs in the medicine cabinet in their home. The drugs were either given to them, sold to them or stolen from them.
- According to a 2011 study, the non-medical use of opioids cost the U.S. $53.4 billion.
- $42 billion was accounted for by lost worker productivity.
- $8.2 billion was spent in criminal justice costs.
- $2.2 billion spent in drug abuse treatment.
- $944 million was spent due to medical complications from opioid drug abuse.
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