The Portland Oregon drug problem is scary, and identifying the true scale of the substance abuse problem here is key if effective remedies are to be found. Here is a sobering look at addiction in Oregon.
“What many don’t realize is that someone with a serious addictions disorder is going to have their body fall apart in a relatively short period. They are going to become disabled, if they don’t die first. They’re going to end up costing the taxpayer an enormous amount of money treating their serious health conditions, and then they are going to die early.”
~ Consultant Dale Jarvis, after studying Oregon’s addiction treatment system
Just as it is elsewhere in the United States, substance abuse in Oregon, in the form of drug addiction and alcoholism is a major problem. In fact, an examination of available data has led some to call the issue an “undeclared emergency” in the state.
What is Drug Addiction?
A drug addiction is a relapsing, chronic disease involving drug-seeking behaviors. A drug addict acts compulsively and uncontrollably where drugs are concerned. It is also characterized by significant changes in the brain. These changes have been shown to have a direct impact on the way people act and think.
Someone who suffers from drug addiction will continue using despite any harmful consequences. Of course, all drug addiction begins when someone voluntarily begins to take drugs on their own. This is called drug abuse.
Substance Abuse Affects Every Oregon Resident
Alcoholism and drug addiction in Oregon can be viewed as a significant threat to public health, safety, and welfare, not to mention a tremendous drain on the economy. It has been estimated that substance abuse costs in Oregon exceed SIX BILLION DOLLARS a year.
Take a look at how that breaks down –
In Lost Earnings:
- $2 Billion directly because of substance abuse
- $1.2 Billion in criminal conduct and victimization
- $978 Million in premature deaths
- $506 Million medical costs/insurance administration
- $307 Million alcohol and drug services
- $656 Million criminal justice
- $271 Million automobile crashes/damage
- $26 Million fire damage
- $13 Million welfare
These astronomical amounts are paid for by everyone in Oregon. It doesn’t matter if you reside in tiny towns like Baker City or La Grande or the larger metropolitan areas such as Salem or Portland, drug addiction will touch your life in some way.
What are the Oregon Drug Abuse “Areas of Concern”?
To provide the most accurate snapshot of the ongoing drug problem in Oregon, the Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program, part of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, generated a report for 2016, “Threat Assessment and Counter-Drug Strategy, Program Year 2016“.
Highlights from the Portland Oregon drug problem report include:
- Illicit drug use in the US costs $200 BILLIONannually, in criminal justice, healthcare, and productivity.
- US drug users spend $100 BILLION per year on methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin/opiates, and cocaine
- “Heavy” drug abusers consume 21 days per month or more. Although they are in the smallest category of drug users, they spend the most money.
- Illicit drug use in Oregon exceeds the national average, per capita
- Oregon is ranked #4 in the US for the rate of past-month drug use, ages 12 and over (2012 & 2013)
- Drug abuse in Oregon is roughly the same across all age categories
- Of Oregon’s prison population, 23% of inmates are there because of drug offenses – 5% solely for a drug charge and 18% for a combination drug/other offense
- The majority of felony drug convictions in Oregon were due to delivery – 87%, 11% were for possession, and 2% were for manufacturing.
- The HIDTA specifically talks about the availability of illegal street drugs in Portland, and how they are easily distributed at the open-air drug markets at Lloyd Center, Pioneer Square, Water Front Park, and Old Town.
The Status of Drug Addiction Treatment in Oregon
Drug and/or Substance Abuse Treatment
Fortunately, there are ways for drug addicts to get the help they need to recover. According to Portland, Oregon’s stats on substance abuse and addiction, these methods are certainly needed.
There are different types of treatments for substance abuse disorders. There is no one “right” method that works for everyone. It’s important for each patient to choose what is right for them.
Most people find that they need to go through a period of drug detox when they stop using. This helps to cleanse the body of dangerous toxins that make it so hard to quit. After this, inpatient treatment is usually recommended for most people.
Inpatient treatment involves many different types of addiction help. Patients meet with a therapist regularly to determine the source of the addiction. They also work in groups and participate in other forms of therapy.
It is recommended for most people to take a step-down approach to addiction treatment. This helps them to become used to living in the community again, which continues to get support.
The statistics show that drug availability and drug abuse in Oregon is a real and ever-present problem. Despite that fact, there is significant room for improvement of treating drug addiction in Oregon. Recent reports have identified major shortcomings:
- There are approximately 3000 certified addiction counselor’s in Oregon, yet –
- More than 300,000 Oregon residents have a substance abuse disorder that remains untreated.
- Only 35% of patients complete outpatient drug addiction treatment, yet –
- More than half – 58% of patients complete intensive residential/inpatient treatment. The national average is only 45%.
- One out of every six patients who are discharged from residential drug addiction treatment programs in Oregon return to treatment within a year.
- Public funding was used for the addiction treatment programs of 23,000 Oregon residents in 2015.
- The average addiction counselor in Oregon has a caseload that is double the size of the national average.
- One-on-one individual counseling is done at one-fourth the established national standard
- Group sessions are typically twice the recommended size.
What do all of the statistics about drug addiction counseling in Oregon tell us? Most importantly, they reveal that not all substance abuse rehabilitation programs in Oregon are created equal. Because of the shortcomings that have been brought to light, it is now more important than ever for a person needing help to perform their due diligence and research any facilities or programs that they are considering.
It’s okay to ask questions because it is YOUR health and YOUR recovery on the line.
The Portland, Oregon Drug Problem is Best Addressed Through Addiction Treatment
If you live in Oregon or neighboring Idaho and you or someone you care about has a problem with drugs or alcohol, NOW is the time to ask those questions, and the experienced professionals at Northpoint Recovery are standing by to give you the answers you need.
As the region’s premier addiction rehabilitation facility, Northpoint Recovery can help you sobriety, sanity, and serenity to your life, with a proven, multi-faceted recovery program that can be individually tailored to fit your needs.
It’s hard to admit when you no longer have control over your substance abuse problem. This might be something you thought you’d never have to admit. However, once you do, you’ll finally be able to get the help you need to recover.
You don’t have to continue in your addiction. Help is available for you today.