Study finds Oregon ranks 2nd in country for addiction, last in treatment | Local News

OREGON (KPTV) – Startling new research shows Oregon now ranks 2nd in the county for addiction and last in access to treatment. Along with increased alcohol and drug addiction, deaths and overdoses have also soared in Oregon during the pandemic.

The new data was collected in 2020 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It shows nearly 20 percent of Oregon’s population suffers from addiction to alcohol or drugs — nearly 1 in 5 Oregonian’s.

Director of Oregon Recovers Mike Marshall says it’s a leadership issue.

“We can’t seem to address the addiction crisis. There’s this aversion to problem solving from the governor,” Marshall says. “It puts a huge burden on cities and counties that simply don’t have the resources.”

Oregon ranked first in both prescription opioid misuse as well as methamphetamine use, but alcohol is by far the biggest addiction problem and was before the pandemic. Marshall says the state took the wrong approach.

The death of a Connecticut seventh grader from an apparent fentanyl overdose has renewed calls for schools to carry the opioid antidote naloxone.

“The state decided to promote alcohol consumption in order to generate more revenue when in fact, that was the last thing that should happen during the pandemic,” Marshall says.

Between 2019 and 2020, alcohol related deaths increased by 73 percent and drug overdoses by 39 percent. On top of that, the report shows Oregon is the worst in the country when it comes to treatment.

“The fact that people are waiting 4, 5, and 6 weeks to get into treatment and access to treatment continues to go down is just completely unnecessary,” Marshall says.

Things aren’t expected to improve right away either. Preliminary data from the first six month of 2021 suggests addiction related deaths in the second year of the pandemic will outpace the first year.

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