Multnomah County Shows Higher Rates of Alcohol Problems

While illegal drug use and the problems that ensue often grab the headlines, recent statistics show that alcohol abuse is still reaching unacceptable proportions.

And it is especially true among residents in Oregon’s most populous county.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 9.15% of Multnomah County residents have problems with alcohol abuse and/or addiction.  That translates to more than 50-thousand residents and is 21% higher than the 7.6% state level.

More than twice as many Multnomah County residents are believed to have problems with alcohol than having problems with illicit drugs.

“This proves again that far and away, alcohol is still #1 in terms of abuse,” says Judy Cushing, President/CEO of Oregon Partnership, a statewide non-profit providing drug and alcohol prevention and treatment referral. “We know more than we ever had about the physiological and psychological  impact of alcohol abuse. And prevention efforts need to start with kids and teens.”  

Meanwhile, the percentage of the population needing, but not receiving alcohol treatment is 8.7% versus the state’s 7.14%.  More than twice as many Multnomah County residents need alcohol treatment as those needing drug treatment.

While the number of Oregonians receiving substance abuse treatment rises, thousands of Oregonians needing treatment for substance abuse are not receiving it.  The reasons include severe reductions in state funding, more people without health insurance, and a rising population.

Every dollar invested in addition treatment programs yields a return of between four dollars and seven dollars in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft.  When savings related to health care are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ration of 12 to 1.


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