Meth and Heroin: Oregon’s Greatest Drug Threats

With expanded production and new strategies for drug trafficking, Mexico continues to smuggle methamphetamine and heroin into the United States. For example, Oregon State Police discovered meth hidden in liquid and stored in tequila bottles—64 pounds of it—at a traffic stop outside Sutherlin.

Meth is also being smuggled in powder form, or traced in liquid which can be altered into crystal meth in California labs. While most meth sold in Oregon is from Mexico, a smaller portion is sourced from California and surrounding southwestern states.

According to an analysis by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program, illegal drug use is likely to increase as long as Mexican drug cartels are continuing to meet the demand.

Heroin use has also been a known problem in Portland for years. However, use of the drug is now spreading to smaller, rural cities and towns in Oregon. According to The Oregonian, “the demographics have shifted toward younger people, many who resort to heroin after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers.”

As stated in The Oregonian, “meth made up the largest proportion of drug arrests in the state in 2016, with 15,308 arrests, trailed by 4,990 for heroin.” Between 2009-2016, heroin arrests nearly tripled, and meth-related crimes more than doubled.

Meth-related deaths reached a peak of 202 in 2015, out of the 287 deaths related to illegal drug use. Rather than overdoses, most meth-related fatalities are due to reactions to the drug caused by long-term use, such as heart attacks and strokes.

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Read the full story at OregonLive.org
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