overdose deaths from 2001-2009.

8 out of 10 of the leading causes of death in Oregon are at least partially caused by the use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.


Substance abuse costs Oregonians $5.93 billion annually. With the exception of alcohol, marijuana is the most used and abused substance in the State of Oregon. Not far behind is the abuse of prescription drugs. Oregon ranks #1 in the U.S. for use of non-medical painkillers (like oxycontin and vicodin) among young adults age 18-25 years old.

There were 9,201 arrests for marijuana offenses in Oregon in 2007, representing an arrest rate of 246 per 100,000, which ranks Oregon at number 32 in the nation. There were an estimated 410,000 past year marijuana users in Oregon during 2007. Reconciling this estimate with the number of arrests for marijuana offenses provides an arrest rate of 2,244 per 100,000 users, which ranks Oregon at number 41 in the nation.

Oregon is being faced with a wave of problems as a result of prescription drugs. The influx of prescription pill abuse is primarily with adolescents who have easy access to their parent's legally acquired prescription drugs. In Oregon, there were more than 1,200 overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers between 2000 and 2009. Prescription drug deaths are surpassing the deaths from automobile accidents. In order to help combat the epidemic of painkiller abuse, Oregon has created a prescription opioid prevention program, which is specifically geared toward the abuse of methadone. Methadone is the most commonly abused prescription drug in the state of Oregon.

Along with prevention program, Oregon has implemented a state wide prescription drug monitoring program. The aim is to help pharmacists detect prescription pill misuse before filling a prescription. As it becomes more difficult to attain prescription painkillers, many addicts are buying heroin from street dealers. Heroin abuse has therefore increased in popularity throughout the state of Oregon.

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