Compiling data from a number of studies, the report looked at all 50 states and gave them scores based on how they ranked in a number of categories including overdose rates, individual drug use and addiction rates and the number of people age 12+ who used drugs within the past year.
The main findings
According to the report — which used statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2018-19, among other sources — Oregon ranked the worst in the country for pain reliever misuse, with 4.56% of people reporting that they misused pain relievers in the past year. The state with the least pain reliever misuse was New York, with 2.95%.
Although not ranked worst in many categories, the report gave Oregon consistently low scores in many categories, which ended up awarding Oregon the worst state award.
With a maximum total score of 100, Utah ranked best in the nation with a score of 88 and Oregon was lowest with a score of 43.
A closer look at drug use in Oregon
A study from 2018-2019 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that approximately 19.84% of people age 12+ had used illicit drugs within the previous month from when the survey was taken.
Although legal in Oregon, marijuana use is still federally illegal and the study found that an estimated 26% of people age 12+ had used marijuana in some form in the previous year from when the study was taken. The largest group was ages 18-25, with an estimated 47.28% of people using marijuana.
A similar study done by WalletHub found that Oregon ranked third in the nation for the highest use of teenage drug users, and second highest for adult drug users.
A call for help
Measure 110, Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, showed up in the spotlight again Thursday when Secretary of State Shemia Fagan released an audit of the measure finding that “Oregon’s drug treatment system is failing.”
According to WalletHub’s study, Oregon has the highest percentage of adults with unmet drug treatment needs.
Despite auditors saying that it is still too early to tell if Measure 110 is working or not, Fagan’s call for help is a sign that change is needed, and the auditors agree on that.
A number of suggested changes were given by auditors including making sure that the program’s successes can be accurately measured and a call for Oregon Legislature to better address possible risk areas in law.
Two more reports on Measure 110 are expected to be released in the coming few years.