Study shows Oregon ranks #1 in U.S. for meth, opioid misuse

MEDFORD, Ore. — At the end of the 2021, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released a staggering report, showing the state of addiction and drug use in Oregon. “We’ve seen a lot of rise in fentanyl in the last year or two, really,” said Josephine County Undersheriff Travis Snyder.

While southern Oregon is certainly no stranger to fentanyl accidental overdoses and misuse, it’s not the only concerning statistic. Oregon had the second highest alcohol and drug addiction rate in the entire nation in 2020. Perhaps more concerning, the state ranks last in treatment options.

“Certain levels of care in Oregon are horribly underfunded, and have excessive administrative burden. When you put those two things together, you can create disastrous results,” said Sommer Wolcott, the executive director of OnTrack Rogue Valley.

Oregon also ranks first in the nation for meth and opioid misuse. Wolcott said Oregon isn’t investing enough in services like residential treatment centers and detox programs. Despite the sobering statistics, there are still people on the front lines looking to help. “Even though it looks really hopeless and there are all these stories about how bad it is, people need help. We’re here. Other providers are here. We’re not judgmental, our doors are open, people can come in, we’ll do what we can,” said Wolcott.

Wolcott said if you or a loved one needs help OnTrack has no wait time for outpatient services in English or Spanish. There might be a waitlist to get into residential treatment, but there are many local services ready to help in any way they can.

Madison LaBerge is the anchor of NBC5 News Weekends at 6 and 11. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Madison is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest. She can't get over "how green everything is!" When Madison is not at work, she looks for new and exciting cooking recipes and explores Southern Oregon. Feel free to send her story ideas or the address of your favorite Mexican food restaurant!
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