Jun 17, 2015

Legalization of pot increasing drug trafficking of heroin and meth, says Oregon report

The Rural Blog
Laws to legalize marijuana in the U.S. are inadvertently increasing production in Mexico of opium—which can be processed chemically to create heroin and other synthetic drugs—and leading to an increase of drug traffic through states like Oregon, says a report by the Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDT) program, Claire Withycombe reports for The Bulletin in Bend. Ore. Recreational marijuana will become legal in Oregon on July 1. (Geology.com map: U.S. Highway 97 and  Interstate 5 are Oregon's two biggest drug trafficking routes) 

The report credits statewide restrictions on access to pseudoephedrine—an over-the-counter ingredient used to make meth—for having decreased the state's number of meth labs by 95 percent since 2005, Withycombe writes. "While the amount of methamphetamine manufactured in Oregon has dropped, the amount passing through the state is considerable."

From 2008 to 2013, Interstate 5 was responsible for 47 percent of all drug traffic seizures in the state and U.S. Highway 97 for 20 percent, the report states. Both routes travel from California to Canada. The amount of heroin seized on Oregon highways increased from six pounds in 2009 to 41 pounds in 2013.

Between 2008 and 2014, authorities on U.S. Highway 97—which runs through Bend—made 304 seizures "recovering 1,600 pounds of marijuana, 158 pounds of meth and more than $1 million in cash, Withycombe writes