Geographically, Oregon possesses a diverse landscape of forests, farms, mountains and beautiful coastlines. But concerning the prevention of drug abuse, it’s a downside for this coastal state. This location becomes a favorable access point for drug traffickers to smuggle illegal drugs into the state.

According to reports of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), cases of drug addictions surpassed the national average. Recently, Oregon ranked fourth for having a notable number of drug abuse cases. The issue of substance abuse in Oregon isn’t new. In fact, there were already many heroin overdose deaths recorded way back in the 90’s. During the 2000s, the number of heroin users started to decline. Critics had assumed that Oregon’s drug problem was declining. But that turned out to be wrong when methamphetamine abuse started to gain back its popularity in 2005.

Illicit Drugs in Oregon

Use of the illicit drugs in Oregon is very alarming. The last available assessment of High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA) declared that the estimated economic cost of illicit drugs in U.S runs around $200 billion. This covers the productivity, healthcare, and criminal justice. On the other hand, U.S spends $100 billion per year on methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine. Ranking 4th among the US states with the most drug users, Oregon has no exception as a contributing factor.

Oregon’s illegal drug use continues to surpass the national per capita average. Here are some of the most commonly abused drugs in Oregon

  • Methamphetamine
  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Controlled Prescription Drugs
  • Cocaine
  • Other Drugs
  1. Methamphetamine
    According to HIDTA, meth is widely used in Oregon and considered to be a serious drug threat in the region. Meth is usually abused for its euphoric and stimulant effect. It directly affects the central nervous system. Solid meth users experience hallucinations and paranoia. Drug-related crimes involving meth abuse are considered to be a serious concern of the community.Most meth came from Mexico, and some were produced in California. Also, locally produced and manufactured meth in Canada by caucasian drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and Asian DTOs also export illegal drugs to Oregon. This is the reason why meth is highly available in the area. These substances are transported in the form of crystal methamphetamine. Since 2014, the correlation between the availability and confiscated meth continue to increase.There are 36% of drug users who submitted to treatment and admitted that they used methamphetamine. Unfortunately, the number of the meth users was higher than the number of people who underwent rehabilitation for substance abuse.
  2. Heroin
    After meth, heroin served as the region’s second most serious drug threat. It’s also the most potent drug among opiate drugs.The availability of heroin grew and was determined by the number of heroin seizures, and the number of confiscated heroin by the Oregon HIDTA task forces. Afghanistan is known for their worldwide heroin production. However, heroin in U.S is mostly from the neighboring country, Mexico. The increased production and supply of heroin from Mexico resulted in lower prices, making it more available to major market areas in U.S.The decrease in prices allowed young people easy access to the illegal drug. This also contributed to the new population of addicts in Oregon.
    Regarding distribution, heroin in Oregon is verbally exchanged at restaurants, nightclubs, online connections, and social networking sites.
  3. Marijuana
    Similar to meth, marijuana is also widely used and available in Oregon. This illicit drug contains “cannabinoids” which is responsible for the psychoactive effect.Although it’s allowed in the state, there are still restrictions in possessing marijuana. Users of this drug can grow up to four plants and can own eight ounces per residence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that children as young as 12 who used marijuana had increased since 2007.Oregon’s climate and arable lands are the reasons why marijuana is produced locally and in some cases, transported to Mexico and Canada. Some DTOs invest in cultivating marijuana to finance other illegal drug activities such as methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine production.Most law forces reported that marijuana is considered as the primary financial backing for major criminal activities. This is because marijuana is legal in most of the states in the U.S. and cheaper for young people to afford.
  4. Controlled Prescription Drugs
    People had two ways to access controlled prescription drugs:
    –  Opioid prescription from doctor
    – Through families or friends prescribed with opioidsOregon was ranked fourth for the number of CPDs released last 2012.People in the U.S. considered CPDs as an alternative safe drug for meth, heroin, and other illicit drugs. Clackamas County, Oregon declared CPDs as a significant drug threat in the area. Since people have easier access to these drugs, the misuse of CPD has substantially increased since the year 2000. This was identified by the number of people who went for hospital admissions and treatment facilities. But recently, the number of CPDs users was declining.Fentanyl use also emerged in the U.S. This type of CPD is 30 to 50 times stronger when compared to heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. This drug was often diverted through stealing, forged prescription, and illegal reproduction from medical experts. Also, some illegal drug producers convince chemists to work for them for the production of fentanyl.
  5. Cocaine
    Fortunately, cocaine’s availability had declined for the past years. However, the use of this drug was still relatively high in some areas in Oregon.
    Different DTOs were behind the cocaine production in the U.S. These groups usually transport cocaine from Mexico, California, and other southwestern states through private and commercial vehicles.
  6. Other Drugs
    Designer drugs and hallucinogens were drugs based on plants. This was prevalent in the HIDTA region in Oregon. From the name itself, designer drugs were ‘designed’ to imitate the effects of other drugs. These drugs, especially ecstasy, was commonly abused by teenagers and was commonly distributed at nightclubs and house parties.
  7. Below were some of the popular other drugs in Oregon:
    – MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
    – DMT (Dimethyltryptamine)
    – Synthetic cannabinoids
    – Bath salts
    – LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)
    – Psilocybin (Hallucinogenic Mushrooms)Other drugs were diverted from local production, social media connection, retail outlets, and cross-border trafficking.

Cities of Oregon

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