BEND, OR -- With two weeks until recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, local addiction facilities are preparing for an anticipated rise in the number of users seeking drug treatment.
Karen Tamminga is a clinical supervisor with Deschutes County Behavioral Health Outpatient Services. She tells KBND News, "The most people in Deschutes County who seek treatment are coming in for an alcohol problem. That’s probably about 40%. Second – a little bit surprising - is methamphetamine. We saw a big drop in meth abuse in the early 2000s when there were some restrictions on pseudoephedrine and not being able to get it over the counter. But, we’re still getting a lot of meth coming up from Mexico."
However, Tamminga says, "Marijuana is the #3 reason why adults seek treatment. There’s a not of belief out there that marijuana is not addicting that it doesn’t cause problems. But, those in the treatment field recognize that people are coming in and saying ‘hey, I’m having trouble, it’s become a problem for me.’ So, that is likely to become even a bigger issue as it becomes legalized July first." As marijuana becomes more socially acceptable and easily available, Tamminga says it’s likely to move into the number two spot.
Tamminga is concerned pot is becoming more addictive and harder to quit. "It may not be physically addicting, but there’s something about it. It’s probably the THC level, which has jumped from 7-10% in the 60s and 70s to well over 20%. Here in Oregon, we boast that we have pot that’s in the 30-percents." That high THC level increases pot's addictive properties.