Substance Use Disorders in Oregon

It is difficult to overstate the negative and pervasive effects that alcohol and drug misuse has on Oregonians. Substance use disorder (SUD) is one of the largest public health challenges afflicting the state. About 1-in-10 Oregonians suffer from SUD, and it costs the state $6 billion annually. Two-thirds of Oregonians know a friend or family member suffering from SUD. And SUD too often ends in tragedy, causing more deaths than traffic accidents, trauma and firearms.

SUD crosses all social and demographic strata in Oregon, but the effects are most acute among rural Oregonians, youth, LGBTQ, homeless, and communities of color. Lack of social services to support education, housing and employment increases risk, especially among those with genetic predisposition. Trauma of all kinds and at all stages of life further fuel the SUD epidemic.

Untreated SUDs increase health care and criminal justice spending; increase crime and violence; create more need for social services; reduce tax revenue by reducing employability; and devastate communities.

Unfortunately, due to the fragmented and under­funded statewide systems attempting to mitigate the impacts of SUD, the personal and societal costs continue to increase in Oregon. Compared with other states, Oregon ranks poorly in the prevalence of SUD for almost all types of substances.

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