Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Background of Gresham, Oregon

Gresham, a town in Multnomah County, Oregon, has a population of 109,892; it’s numerous parks and historic sites, including the Louise Albertina Kerr Home and the Jacob Zimmerman House, makes it’s a destination for tourists. Regarding crime rate, there’s a 1 in 32 chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Gresham; and compared to the state, Gresham’s crime rate is higher than 78 percent of Oregon’s cities and towns. Last year, Neighborhood Scout, a crime-index finder, reported that Gresham had 425 violent charges and 3,066 property offenses. Relative to the state with 58 crimes per square mile, Greshman had 194 incidences per square mile. Like the rest of Oregon, many violent behavior and cases dealing with “identity theft, abused and neglected children, and other serious person and property crimes” are linked to chronic methamphetamine use (Oregon HIDTA Program, Threat Assessment and Counter-Drug Strategy 2016).

If you live in Gresham, and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.

Meth Problem in Greshman, Oregon

According to Noelle Crombie, writer for Pacific Northwest News, “Crystal methamphetamine and heroin, both smuggled into Oregon by Mexican cartels, are widely available, increasingly used and continue to dominate as the most significant drug threats facing the state” (2017). However, compared to 4,990 heroin-related arrests, meth made up a whopping 15,308 arrests in 2016 (more than doubling between 2009 and 2016). Crombie also reports that the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office seized 90 to 100 pounds of meth among other drugs from two homes in Gresham and Portland on Feb. 22, 2017. Making history, this was one of the largest drug raids in the state and “the street value of the drugs is more than $2 million” (FOX News). Statewide, meth-overdose deaths increased from 51 in 2012, to 141 in 2016. Additionally, state medical examiner, Dr. Karen Gunson, said, although opioids “are pretty lethal and can cause death by themselves, meth is insidious,” adding, “it kills you in stages and it affects the fabric of society more than opioids” (Statesman Journal, 2016). 

Heroin: A Growing Threat in Oregon

After declining for several years, Pacific Northwest News, reports that once again, heroin “is a growing threat in Oregon, with dramatic increases in use and access” (2017). Their research reveals that heroin use and availability has “reached a critical level”. The Tri-County Regional Opioid Trends (2016), reveals that out of 2,186 hospitalized patients from Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington County,1,383 said heroin was their most injected drug in 2015. Meth followed behind with 728 patients who injected this drug the most, and pharmaceutical injections totaled 30. From 2009 to 2015, individuals younger than 35 years old accounted for 61 percent of heroin deaths in Clackamah County, whereas this age group made up 39 percent in Multnomah County. Overall, between 2009 and 2015, 55 percent of opioid deaths in Multnomah County attributed to heroin, while 31 percent and 30 percent of opioid fatalities in Clackamas and Washington County resulted from this drug.

Opioid Abuse in Greshman, Oregon

Across Multnomas, Clackamah, and Washington County, 75 percent of current heroin users “report first becoming addicted to prescription pain pills” (the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, 2016). Furthermore, compared with other states, “Oregon has consistently high rates of opioid prescribing, especially for long-acting versions of these drugs” (PDMP). As a state, Oregon ranked fourth highest “in the nation for the rate of extended release opioid prescriptions dispensed in 2012” (the Oregon HIDTA Program). PDMP also shows that nearly 5,000 Health Share members had a primary opioid substance use disorder claim in 2015. Additionally, in 2015, of 159 fatal opioid deaths in the tri-county region, two-thirds occurred in Mulnomah County. In all three counties, prescription-related deaths occurred at younger ages among males than females, and over 90 percent of opioid fatalities occurred among the white race. At large, HIDTA reports that in 2014 opioids accounted for nearly half of the estimated seven million prescriptions for controlled prescription drugs in Oregon (CPDs). Furthermore, these sales contribute to the annual cost of substance abuse in Oregon: over six billion dollars.

Homelessness in Oregon: A Drug Problem

According to the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (2016), of the three tri-county region, “It was reported that about 40 percent of clients served in 2015 said they were currently homeless”. Client survey participants revealed the following:

  • Multnomah County 448 (83%)
  • Washington County 42 (8%)
  • Clackamas County 26 (5%)
  • Other Oregon counties 12 (2%)
  • Washington state 8 (2%)
  • Out of state (not OR or WA) 6 (1%)

The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress reveals Oregon (at 60.5 percent) is the second state with the highest rates of unsheltered homeless people. Though Oregon has twice as many unsheltered groups (8,002), than Hawaii (4,308), California exceeds every state with 78,390 unsheltered people. Generally, research declares substance use disorders as a major factor contributing to or perpetuating homelessness.

Alcohol Statistics in Multnomah County

The Open Data Network, reports that, “The excessive drinking rate of Multnomah County was 19.20 percent in 2015,” which represents the “upper quartile”. That same year, 17.9 percent of Oregon adults reported binge drinking (Oregon Health Authority). Consequently, between 2001 and 2015, 1,933 Oregonians (43 per 100,000 population) died from alcohol‐related incidences such as scute poisoning, chronic diseases, perinatal causes and injury. From 2012 to 2015, American Indian/Alaska Natives accounted for twice as many deaths than any other group (84 per 100,000). Nationally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that in 2015, US residents consumed more than 17 billion binge drink, or “about 470 binge drinks per binge drinker”. Furthermore, each year binge drinking causes more than half of the “88,000 alcohol-attributable deaths and three-quarters of the $249 billion in economic costs associated with excessive drinking in the United States” (CDC).

DUI Data for Mulnomah County

Alcohol involved crash-deaths in Multnomah County increased from 18 in 2012 to 21 in 2013 (Oregon Department of Transportation). Crash-fatalities with both alcohol and drugs present rose from 28 in 2012 to 35 in 2013. Injuries from alcohol or drug-related collisions totaled 289, a decreased from 364 in the previous year. Total DUI offenses in 2013 came to 2,961, while DUI arrests for drugs was 100. Although there were 1,307 DUI convictions in 2010—just one more than 1,306 in 2013—1,048 residents were mandatorily enrolled in rehab that year, as opposed to a mere 796 offenders in 2013. For youths under 21, DUI arrests has gradually decreased, from 112 in 2010 and 95 in 2012, to 72 in 2013. This last year, the state of Oregon increased by 19.3 percent in drunk driving-related deaths (MADD). However, MADD claims that “Oregon is making improvements in the state drunk driving laws, which in turn is causing a decrease in DUI arrests,” and will create an overall drop in death tolls.

The Need for Recovery

Getting off of drugs and/or alcohol is difficult, but its possible with the right plan and strategic tools. Once you decide to rid of drugs and/or alcohol and recognize that you have an addiction problem, the steps below will be easier.

Recovery Starts With Detox

You may feel nervous, not knowing what to expect from detoxing off drugs after using for so long. Therefore, chronic drug users and for certain kinds of drugs (eg crystal meth), its advised to seek a rehab center with a medically supervised detox program. Depending on the drug, side effects can last up to two or three weeks after withdrawing, so its essential to have a nurse or doctor nearby. However, before entering a rehab program, many people have detoxed off drugs and/or alcohol on their own with success, so it comes down to personal choice and knowing what you can handle.

Now, you may wonder what to expect—Common initial withdrawal symptoms from opioids include: agitation, sweating, watery eyes, excessive yawning, anxiety, insomnia, muscle aches, and a runny nose. For meth initial side effects involve: hopelessness, depression, sadness, fatigue, muscle weakness, and decreased appetite. Eight hours after the last drink, detoxing from an alcohol addiction can cause: nausea, abdominal pain, insomnia, and anxiety.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

What is an Assessment?

After detoxing, the next step would be to check in to a rehab facility. During this time, an assessment will take place where a therapist and/or doctor will collect information from the patient. Questions involving family background and medical history, as well as self-assessment for current mood, triggers, main substance of abuse will take place. In some cases, a physical exam will also take place. With this information, the therapist and/or doctor will assess key findings, such as if a dual-diagnosis may be present. For example, if the patient revealed high levels of depression, along with disordered eating and body dysmorphic behaviors, the assessor may determine that alcoholism or drug addiction is linked to these underlying factors. Usually assessments incorporate the same types of questions and rating-scales within each rehab center.

The Intake Process

Basically the intake process is like attending your first day of college, in which the person attends specific and relevant courses, and meets the staff, professors and other students. Within a rehab center, the patient will meet with official members (eg a psychologist, a psychiatrist/doctor, and therapists’) to create and build strong, comfortable relationships. Beyond allowing the patient to feel more at ease, this step helps the staff further assess and communicate with one another on observations and new findings about the individual. Thus, an assigned plan with appropriate therapy groups should presume. Like the assessment phase, intake process includes further questions that addresses findings from the previous step, as well as several more relevant ones. Additionally, during this time, the rehab center’s staff will likely take payment; fortunately, many rehabs take multiple insurances and provide payment plans.

Inpatient Versus Outpatient Treatment

More on Inpatient Vs. Outpatient

Options for drug rehab centers includes: residential treatment centers (RTC), partial hospitalization programs (PHP), and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). Unlike PHP and IOP, RTC requires patients remain in the facility over night. RTC offers a highly structured and supervised environment, where the patient meets routinely with a psychologist, doctor and attends group therapy sessions. Group sessions differ in material and approaches depending on the specific focus; for instance, there CBT for those struggling with anxiety and obsessions, and Christian Therapy for those needing spiritual guidance and support. RTC is especially advised for those who had to be hospitalized for the detoxing process. Typically, the program lasts anywhere from three to six months.

Comparatively, in PHP and IOP, patients return home in the evening. PHP operates five days a week for six hours a day, and IOP runs three days a week for three hours a day. Both programs offer similar services as RTC, and has reportedly been just as effective as residential treatment. Another difference is the less amount of one-on-one therapy and doctor sessions (which is mostly due to less time). Usually, length of stay depends on the patient’s progress. Many can choose to go longer than they planned on, depending on how strong they feel at the moment to live completely on their own.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?

What is AfterCare?

AfterCare should follow a month or two after completing RTC, PHP, or IOP. This step is essential in maintaining sobriety. By checking in with a staff-member in the program, the individual can stay accountable. Since the road to recovery is an ongoing life-long process, speaking with others should occur frequently. By having a long-term support-team, the individual will be more likely to continue their journey. This step does not involve too much effort, it’s just a series of scheduled check-ins either in-person or sometimes over the phone.

What happens after discharge?

Should I Move Into a Sober Living Home?

For some, moving into a sober living home works extremely well. One key to success comes from living among others with similar struggles—as they say, “There’s strength in numbers”. Before entering, however, each person must fully rid of toxins through detoxing. In the house’s program, by communicating with others during group meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and/or drug therapy, there’s an important open dialogue taking place. Additionally, because illicit substances and alcohol cannot enter the house, there’s no direct triggers. Typically, the average length of stay lasts for six months; and during this time, roommates must complete tasks such as cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and keeping organized. Some sober living homes offer volunteer opportunities, such as driving the group’s vehicle to pick up groceries. Notably, there are curfew-rules during this time, but as time progresses, the individual will gain more privileges and freedom to leave the house more often (once there’s trust built).