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The report, created by the US Department of Health and Human Services, found that Oregon’s rates had risen worse than in 2019.

A 23-year-old man sits on the sidewalk in downtown Portland, preparing what he says is heroin, June 25, 2021.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

Oregon ranks first in the nation for misuse of methamphetamine and prescription opioids. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in the state, with just over 12% of Oregonians suffering from an alcohol use disorder.

Oregon has underinvested in services such as residential treatment centers and detox programs, according to Sommer Wolcott, executive director of OnTrack Rogue Valley, a Southern Oregon nonprofit specializing in substance abuse recovery. substances

“People struggling with problematic substance use or a combination of mental health problems and substance use disorders need the highest levels of care that have been underfunded for years,” says Wolcott.

She says Oregon’s system is fractured and doesn’t adequately address the connection between mental health and addiction.

Mike Marshall is the Executive Director of Oregon Recovers. He says addiction rates have only gotten worse since 2019.

“We don’t invest in prevention,” says Marshall. “The Centers for Disease Control comes out annually with suggestions for what each state should invest in prevention, and Oregon has traditionally invested half of what they recommend. And we have the highest addiction rates in the county, so we probably should ‘be above what they recommend’.

The waiting list for residential treatment centers can last three to five weeks, Marshall said, at which point many people who say they want help may decide not to go.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated Oregon’s addiction problems by increasing isolation and weakening support systems.

Source: Oregon had the second highest addiction rates in the country in 2020