High Risk/Addictive Behavior


Addictive Behavior in Oregon

Addictive behaviors involving alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use in Oregon is especially high. The consumption and consequences for each of these substances in Oregon is discussed below:

(The data is from the DHS 2007 Executive Summary on Alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug consumption and consequences in Oregon)

  • Oregon ranked 4th in the nation for alcohol-induced deaths:13.5 deaths per 100,000 in Oregon as compared to 7.0 deaths per 100,000 for the US
  • In 2005, the rate of past month alcohol use by Oregon’s eighth grade youth was 76% higher than that of the United States (30.1% vs. 17.1% respectively)
  • Oregon’s lung cancer death rate and death due to chronic lower respiratory disease and emphysema exceeded that of the United States every year from 1999 to 2003.
  • For the first time since 1998, the percentage of 18-to 24-year old Oregonians who smoke every day has exceeded the rate of daily smoking in the US
  • 1 out of 10 young adults (18-24 years) abuses or is dependent on 1 or more illicit drugs
  • In 2001, methamphetamine-related deaths drove the number of drug-related deaths up and in 2005 methamphetamine-related deaths equaled that of heroin-related deaths in Oregon at 86 deaths.
  • Methamphetamine and other substance use disorders are the leading cause of children being removed from the home and placed in foster care in Oregon.

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OMA Policy on Substance Abuse (Adopted 2006)

Substance abuse and addiction are major public health problems that, when left untreated, account for significant medical, legal, social and financial costs. Addictive disease is a life threatening affliction and should be treated as such. Physicians and other health care providers should take a leadership role in communities and educational systems in advocating for treatment and prevention of addiction disorders.

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OMA Involvement:

The OMA’s Community Health Committee has determined that the subject of mental health, high risk behavior and dependence syndromes is one of their top priorities. They are actively involved in community-based work that is addressing these issues. Below is a list of current initiatives:

  • Partnering with Drug Prevention Programs in Oregon: The OMA is working with drug prevention programs such as the Oregon Partnership to determine substance abuse priority areas; compile and share appropriate resources for physicians working with individuals with dependency syndromes; and assist with public information campaigns.
  • Legislative Activities: The OMA has supported legislation on substance abuse prevention that include requiring employers to provide a smoke-free workplace effect Jan. 1, 2009, and requiring all cigarettes sold and distributed in Oregon to be fire-safe.

The OMA and its members are also working with statewide partners to address the troubling epidemic of opioid abuse in Oregon. 

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Tools for Your Practice

The American Medical Association has partnered with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to make the Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician's Guide available to physicians. It contains the latest information on talking to patients about alcohol use.

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Links to Other Resources:

State Approaches Taken to Control Access to Key Methamphetamine Ingredient Show Varied Impact on Domestic Drug Labs, U.S. Government Accountability Office Report (2013): www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-204.

Department of Human Services. (2007) Alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug consumption and consequences in Oregon. Addictions and Mental Health Division. www.oregon.gov/DHS/addiction/resource_center.shtml.

Lines for Life: www.linesforlife.org.

Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician’s Guide: www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/3337.html.  

NIDA's website for physicians contains screening tools for tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use as well as resources and references: www.nida.nih.gov/nidamed.

Governor’s Methamphetamine Task Force (2007) Report to the Governor. Criminal Justice Commission. www.oregon.gov/CJC/docs/2007MethamphetamineTaskForceReport.pdf  

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v2 2016