Methamphetamine is a powerful drug. Unfortunately, Oregon has a problem with meth. Oregon’s meth problem may seem like a scare tactic used by the media and anti-drug advocates, but the reality is that this issue exists all across the state. People die daily, and entire families are broken up over this addictive substance.
Methamphetamine Use in the United States
Methamphetamine use in the United States has been increasing, especially among young adults. This trend is particularly concerning because of the drug’s serious health risks, including addiction and stroke (a brain attack).
Methamphetamine is a stimulant that can cause feelings of euphoria (extreme happiness), increased energy and alertness, and decreased appetite. Methamphetamine users are often called “meth heads” because they can become aggressive and erratic while high on the drug.
Why Is It So Popular?
Methamphetamine has several properties that make it attractive to users:
It produces a high that lasts for several hours without causing sleepiness afterward. This makes people who use methamphetamine more alert and energetic than they would be without using the drug. This increased energy may cause people who use methamphetamine to become overactive or hyperactive as they try to manage their feelings of euphoria in different ways — such as by aggressively pursuing sex or other activities.
It increases dopamine levels in the brain, which produces feelings of pleasure and excitement. These feelings can lead to addiction quickly if users continue using methamphetamine long enough.
Methamphetamine increases metabolism (the rate at which cells burn energy), which causes users’ bodies to burn calories more rapidly than normal for several hours after use.
The Signs of a Meth Addiction
The signs of meth use can vary depending on the method of ingestion. For example, snorting produces different effects than smoking. Some people may experience euphoria, while others may feel agitated and aggressive. The following are some common signs of meth use:
- Aggressive behavior
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Rapid weight loss
- Increased energy levels and alertness
Does Oregon Have a Meth Problem
Yes, Oregon has a huge meth problem; below is why Oregon must deal with this epidemic immediately.
Number One In America
The state is the first in the U.S. to top the list of meth use, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). As of 2020, Oregon moved from being the 9th in meth use to the 1st in America. This has been attributed to the ease of access to meth and its supply in Oregon.
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Between 2016 and 2020, the meth confiscated in Oregon increased by 75%, the DEA says. According to the agency, Oregon was one of the top three states for meth lab seizures in 2020. The state also seized more than 232 pounds of methamphetamine — nearly double what it did in 2016.
Between 2018 and 2019, meth-related emergencies in Oregon’s rural and urban areas increased by 20%. There were 16,000 meth emergencies reported to the Oregon Poison Center (OPC). The OPC is a 24-hour call center staffed by medical professionals who consult with poison control centers across the country to provide information about treatment for poisonings. Most calls to OPC are for prescription drugs, but over the past few years, many more have been related to meth.
Oregon has a large homeless population, and this has led to meth addiction in Oregon to increase. Meth has overtaken heroin due to its price; there has been a decrease in meth prices since a three-day high is 5$. This has made it a drug of choice for homeless people who cannot afford heroin.
In 2019 the Portland sober center was shut down by Central City Concern. According to Central City Concern, there was increased violence and aggressive behavior at the facility. The staff could not keep up with the treatment needs of these patients, which is why they had to close it down.
The number of people who died from meth overdoses has been steadily increasing in Oregon since 2014. In 2019 and 2020, more deaths were caused by meth than by any other drug. Meth has also led to more deaths than heroin and fentanyl combined in 2021.
Is There Hope?
There is hope for Oregon, but it will require a paradigm shift in how we view meth addiction in Oregon. We must stop treating addiction as a moral failing and treat it like a chronic disease.
This shift in perspective will require us to invest more money in treatment, which is effective. It will also require us to recognize that people with an addiction often can’t help themselves and need support from others.
It’s easy for people not affected by drug addiction to dismiss it as someone else’s problem, but when you look at the statistics for Oregonians who have died from overdose over the past five years, you’ll see that this isn’t just an abstract problem happening somewhere else: The majority of those who died were young white men living in rural areas or small towns. Many had jobs and families they left behind when they started using drugs.
Oregon has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine use in the United States. Over the past decade, the use of meth in Oregon has increased. Meth is a highly addictive stimulant, and its use can lead to violent behavior and serious health complications, including death. Oregon’s crime rate is rising as more people turn to drugs for mental health issues. Oregon has a growing addiction problem that needs to be addressed by the public and private sectors, including addiction treatment centers in Oregon.