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Study suggests Springfield, Roseburg are regional 'hot spots' for meth, opioids

The study also found a disturbing trend of combining methamphetamines and opioids across the state.

Posted: Sep 19, 2019 11:42 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Roseburg and Springfield are regional "hot spots" where methamphetamine use is "particularly prevalent," a study published by the University of Maryland suggests.

The study, which was based on focus groups and interviews with treatment providers and patients in treatment, also found a disturbing trend of combining meth and opioids across the state.

Regional and Geographic Findings Regarding Methamphetamine Use (University of Maryland Study)

  • Though methamphetamine use is widespread throughout the state, participants identified regional hotspots where methamphetamine use is particularly prevalent:
  • Southern Oregon (Roseburg, Oregon) and Springfield, Oregon.
  • In these regional hotspots there is widespread methamphetamine use, including intergenerational and familial use.
  • Methamphetamine use is often tied to intergenerational trauma
  • In Southern Oregon, many people worked in the logging industry. Because of the demands of physical labor related to this industry, people were using methamphetamine widely to help with physically-demanding work. The decline of the logging industry has resulted in people turning to the methamphetamine industry as an income-generating strategy and for recreational use.
  • Local idioms for methamphetamine include: “s**t” and “white.”

Dr. Eric Geisler from Serenity Lane, a Lane County treatment center that participated in the study, said access to these drugs is the biggest problem.

"We've sort of termed this the fourth wave of the addiction crisis," he said. "We're seeing a drop in the prescription drug opioid overdoses (but now) we are starting to see an increased use of methamphetamines."

Geisler said there are things the community can do to alleviate the epidemic.

"I think the biggest thing we can do is lower barriers to access to treatment," he said. "When a patient presents to the emergency department or has an interaction with law enforcement, get them into treatment as quickly as possible."

Pete Kerns has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience including as chief of police in Eugene. As the president of Serenity Lane, he said the problem has been consistent, but where the drugs are coming from has changed significantly.

He said they used to be produced, sold and consumed in Oregon, but now they mostly come from California and Mexico.

"The better funded that law enforcement is the more we find, or the more law enforcement finds, but that isn't necessarily an indicator of how much is there, it's more an indicator of our ability to be productive," he said.

Roseburg and Springfield officials said the study was "not statistically valid" and noted it was based on a small sample size.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 32820

Reported Deaths: 543
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Multnomah7184138
Marion468394
Washington451960
Umatilla297641
Clackamas240861
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Jackson11485
Deschutes84012
Yamhill75713
Jefferson5348
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Douglas2324
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Josephine1982
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Coos1570
Baker942
Crook621
Tillamook530
Lake330
Curry310
Wallowa311
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 809890

Reported Deaths: 15606
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2678016514
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino54478925
Orange533151216
San Diego46610776
Kern31947369
Fresno28336382
Sacramento22269406
Alameda21189406
Santa Clara21153312
San Joaquin20194441
Contra Costa16572205
Stanislaus16452354
Tulare15970263
Ventura12729150
Imperial11835317
San Francisco11143101
Monterey988471
San Mateo9843150
Santa Barbara9061113
Merced8872142
Kings756980
Sonoma7412122
Marin6716118
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer357745
San Luis Obispo354629
Butte282744
Yolo280355
Santa Cruz23589
Sutter170511
Napa168113
San Benito134511
Yuba11537
El Dorado11274
Mendocino93118
Shasta85617
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5605
Lake54911
Nevada5347
Colusa5296
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
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Del Norte1391
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