As addiction statistics rise across the northwestern United States, many are feeling the effects of the nation-wide drug epidemic as it hits the state of Oregon. Particularly in Portland, drug-related crimes and deaths continue to grow at increasingly problematic rates. Law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel find themselves struggling to keep up as the problem spirals further and further out of control. It is clear that drug addiction Oregon is taking its toll on the community.
Fortunately, those seeking quality addiction treatment in Oregon are not beyond saving. Of course, the first step toward helping those in need is to begin by shining a light on the problem at hand.
Oregon Addiction Statistics
Rates of alcohol and drug addiction in Oregon have remained slightly above the national average for several years. According to the most recent statewide behavioral health barometer, more than 233,000 people aged 12 or older exhibit alcohol dependence each year, while close to 100,000 habitually use illicit drugs.
Very few of these individuals receive professional help. Oregonian alcoholics enter treatment at a rate of approximately 8% per year, or about 21,000 patients. The rate for illicit drug users is higher at 10.9%, but this still only translates into a yearly average of about 13,000 illicit substance users who receive proper care.
According to a 2014 report by the Oregon Health Authority, the state suffered about 346 drug-related deaths in 2012. The greatest offender was prescription opioids, accounting for 23% of Oregon’s overdose deaths. Heroin and alcohol accounted for 16% each. In other words, more than half of Oregon’s 2012 overdose deaths were attributed to alcohol and opiates alone.
During the period from 2014 to 2016, rates would rise to an average of approximately 10 overdose deaths per every 100,000 people, which comes to about 400 for a state with a population of more than 4 million citizens. The Oregon Health Authority’s opioid data dashboard attributes approximately 240 of these deaths to opioids and 100 to heroin, although does not present data on alcohol. Nonetheless, these figures make it clear that the rates of opiate-related deaths have risen in the state of Oregon, despite few changes to addiction rates since 2010.
Drug Addiction Portland
If things are bad in the state of Oregon, they are particularly troubling in the city of Portland. Rates of overdose are significantly higher in Portland than they are in the state, with an average of about 4 more drug-related deaths per 100,000 citizens in Multnomah County than in the state. Rates of death related specifically to heroin and prescription opioids are similarly higher. In the city of Portland, the city’s vice division investigated 37 overdose deaths through the year of 2015—more than twice as many as they investigated during the year prior. During that same year, meth-related deaths underwent a statistically significant 71% increase according to industry trends.
Drug addiction Oregon has a major impact on Portland’s crime rates as well. While the police confiscated more than 37,000 grams of heroin in 2014, they found more than 62,000 grams the following year. Seizures of illicit methamphetamine also increased almost four times over. Combined with all other searches and seizures (including guns and cash), Portland’s vice squad estimated total drug value at more than $28 million for that year.
The vice department publishes statistics on drugs and crime correlation, illustrating that drug-related offenses are not the only crimes influenced by substance use. For instance, 11% of Portland homicides are committed on methamphetamines, and another 11% while using marijuana. Alcohol is present in more than 10% of rapes, and nearly a quarter of all sex crimes combined. Meth accounts for more than 17% of burglaries, 11% of larcenies and 20% of motor vehicle thefts. Both alcohol and meth account for about 10% each of arson cases. Heroin and cocaine, while present in numerous Portland-based crimes, do not lead any of the statistics.
Effects on the State
Unfortunately, not many states have assessed the economic costs of addiction in some time, despite knowledge that the impact of the drug crisis has grown considerably. As such, the most recent assessment of the statewide impact of addiction in Oregon (not counting alcohol-specific studies or reports from unverifiable sources) stems from a 2006 analysis. At that time, the total cost of addiction in Oregon was estimated at about $5.93 billion.
Most of this (about $4.15 billion) came from lost productivity. This includes workplace absenteeism, premature deaths, illness and incarceration. Another $967 million came from the criminal justice system and property damages. Only $813 million went to substance use treatment programs. Even then, a portion of that number was actually allocated to other medical costs related to the physical consequences of substance dependency.
While not often discussed in the grand scheme of the addiction crisis, alcohol’s effects on Oregon are hard to ignore. In 2006, alcoholism cost the state’s economy approximately $3.24 billion. Meanwhile, only $395 million were collected from alcohol sales taxes that year. To put this another way, alcohol costs Oregon about eight times per year what the state makes from selling it. Given the heft of the sales tax it would take to turn a profit from that revenue, the better option to reduce economic costs is to simply reduce the number of substance dependents by providing quality treatment programs.
Drug Addiction Oregon Detox and Treatment
Alcohol, meth and opioids present the greatest health-related and legal issues in the state of Oregon. Since each of these substances tends to result in terribly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, the first step in providing successful drug addiction Oregon treatment should be access to quality Oregon detox programs. Aspire Health Network has learned by running First Choice Detox in California that the initial stages in treatment often influence the success of the patient’s entire treatment program.
More than half of all Oregonians (about 54.1%) suffer from untreated mental health issues. Co-occurring disorders often lead to exacerbated thoughts and behaviors when suffered by those who also struggle with untreated substance use disorder. Our locations emphasize mental health treatment, addressing the underlying causes of addiction instead of focusing solely on the symptoms. Those in Portland, as well as the greater state of Oregon, will find that this dual focus greatly raises their chances of success.
Above all, we believe that drug addiction Oregon treatment is best provided when given a life-long focus. The initial stages of treatment may play a role in long-term success, but the addiction specialists and clinical team on staff must still work to teach relapse prevention skills. They must help patients develop a better understanding of their mental processes and how to best manage them over time. If no focus is given to achieving long-term recovery, many will relapse as soon as they exit the doors of the treatment center. Substance use disorder is a deadly, costly issue. Those who suffer deserve the best treatment possible.
Drug addiction Oregon statistics may not seem promising, but remember that little is currently spent on treating the problem. With proper treatment and long-term focus, Oregonians in recovery can stand together and battle against the wave of addiction currently sapping billions of dollars from the state. Find help for you or your struggling loved one, and you can become one of the many people to help put a dent in the northwestern drug crisis.