Oregon: Number One in Addiction, Number 50 in Access to Treatment. How Did We Get Here? 

Published 7 months ago -  - 7m ago

Last week, my friend and I were walking about the inner south east area of Portland, close to Omsi, an area notorious for homeless camps and car theft. Although there were some encampments strung about the streets, it was strangely quiet and almost felt abandoned.

She was apparently shocked when I noted that Oregon is number one in the country for drug addiction, but I understand her confusion. Number one? You mean we are worse than LA, Seattle and NYC?

Well, according to federal data, the fact that 1 in 5 Oregon Adults AND teens are reporting problems with drugs and alcohol, cements us the number one spot in the United States as of 2022 (last year we were 5th).

Truly disturbing information, and it gets worse.

Would it surprise you that the #1 state in drug addiction rate would also be #50 in access to treatment services? Yeah me too.

We have been last in addiction treatment services for years now, and the pandemic only made it worse. And while Kate Brown and her cohorts promised that HR101 (the bill that decriminalized hard drugs) would allot funds for new treatment facilities, none of that money has been used towards that promise. We currently have ONE facility for adolescent drug treatment in the state.

“On the one hand we have highly rewarding drugs which are widely available, and on the other little or no pressure to stop using them,” Said Keith Humphreys, a professor at Stanford, “Under those conditions we should expect to see exactly what Oregon is experiencing: extensive drug use, extensive addiction and not much treatment seeking.”

So what do you get when you have a major city on the i-5 corridor that basically rewards the homeless, decriminalizes hard drugs and does not prohibit street camping? A city in complete disarray.

Shoplifting has become a huge problem and is absolutely fueled by drug addiction. Addicts are legitimately swiping products off store shelves and strolling out the store with no fear of repercussions.

Petty crime and car break-ins increased exponentially, and homicide are up a staggering 207% since 2019. To top it, Portland is number 3 in human trafficking.

What can we do?

The first responsibility for all of us as Oregonians is to be educated on the issues. The passing of Measure 110, which has brought a MASSIVE influx of fentanyl needs to be repealed. Oregon is facing a humanitarian crisis of historic levels. Our city is bombarded with homelessness, drug addiction and crime. Oregonians can simply no longer fund this.

Organizations like Better Portland are offering bipartisan solutions to Oregon violence spike. Pastor Corey Pritchett said,  “We want to bring the community together to help end violence and make a better Portland. Part of ending violence is dealing with the anger and dealing with the hurt in peoples’ hearts. We’ve had too many homicides already this year. We want to bring the community together, to not be afraid and to take action.”

Dear Oregonians, please make sure you are registered to vote and let your concern be heard.

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