Which drug plays the largest role in state’s illicit drug economy?

Federal agents identify Central Oregon highways as a growing trafficking route in state.

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The state’s illicit drug economy is bolstered by highways cutting through Central Oregon, according to a new report by the Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.

In Oregon, methamphetamine yields the most “quantitive measure of drug-related activity.” It is followed by heroin and marijuana. 

The program, established by the Office of National Drug Policy in 1999, encompasses 10 Oregon counties, including Deschutes, as well as the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The annual report assesses quantitative measures of drug-related activity and responses to surveys of local law enforcement officers. While the amount of methamphetamine manufactured in Oregon has dropped, the amount passing through the state — and through Central Oregon in particular — is considerable.

HIDTA considers U.S. Highway 97 one of the state’s more significant trafficking routes. Between 2008 and 2014, authorities made 304 seizures on the route, recovering 1,600 pounds of marijuana, 158 pounds of meth and more than $1 million in cash, according to HIDTA. Those seizure totals are second only to Oregon’s section of Interstate 5.

(SOURCE: Bend Bulletin)

Since the state restricted access to pseudoephedrine — most commonly in the form of an over-the-counter decongestant — the number of meth labs has dropped 95 percent since 2005. But trafficking through the state remains high.

Prescription drug abuse and stemming of access by doctors has led to increased heroin usage. The report suggests supplying Portland Police Bureau officers with Naloxone could help reverse heroin overdoses.

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