The data included deaths connected with the stimulant; the discovery of places were meth was made; the release of dangerous fumes and chemicals from these "labs;" the accidental ingestion of toxic chemicals used to make the addictive drug; the haphazard dumping of waste from the labs; and calls to the Oregon Poison Control Center regarding overdoses and other meth-related concerns. The study, however, didn't include crime-related data like arrests for possession of meth. Sudakin then analyzed the data using a computer software program called SaTScan, which epidemiologists use to map diseases and other health concerns and determine if they're clustered in specific locations and time periods.
The analysis found that on a per-capita basis, these problems were most common in sparsely populated, rural Umatilla County when compared with other counties and the state overall, which has a population of about 3.7 million. The study determined that every time a lab or dump site was discovered, it was 11.5 times more likely to be in Umatilla County than in any other part of the state. When a meth-related spill, leak or other hazardous substance release was reported, it was 8.3 times more likely to be in Umatilla County, which is in a wheat-growing belt in northeastern Oregon and has slightly more than 70,000 residents.
After Umatilla, Sudakin's study identified Multnomah, Marion, Linn and Lincoln counties as having significant meth-related problems per capita, but it did not rank these four counties. In Multnomah County, labs and dump sites were 1.4 times more like to be found there than in the rest of the state, and meth-related deaths were 2.1 times more likely to occur there. In Linn County, hazardous releases of meth-related substances were four times more likely to take place there than in the rest of the Oregon, and deaths connected to meth were 1.2 times more likely.
|Contact: Dr. Daniel Sudakin|
Oregon State University