EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- While questions linger about the Oregon Ducks football program and possible connection to marijuana use, one Eugene drug treatment center is weighing-in now
about the prevalence of pot use in the local community.
NewsSource 16 spoke with specialists at the Serenity Lane drug rehabilitation facility on Thursday, April 19th, 2012 about their perspective on marijuana use in the nearby community. Serenity Lane has 10 drug treatment outpatient clinics in Oregon and Washington.
The clinic says marijuana and alcohol are frequently found to be some of the most used substances amongst the people it treats in the Eugene-area. However, use of those substances typically come in combination with other drugs.
Serenity Lane says the majority of the substances it treats for are alcohol, heroin and prescription drugs. Right now, slightly more than 60 people are in Serenity Lane's Eugene clinic.
Doctor Michael Schwartz is the Treatment Director at Eugene's Serenity Lane clinic on 16th Avenue.
Schwartz says marijuana typically isn't the only thing people are addicted to, but he says the drug is a gateway to addiction and relapse.
Like any college town, Schwartz says Eugene is a place where many people experiment. He says family history plays a huge factor in whether or not the drug becomes a problem.
“Alcoholism or drug addiction in their family, they're at risk for developing something that can very quickly get out of control and it can start with something that seems innocent like marijuana,” says Schwartz.
“Someone experimenting with something, well, that's one thing, but when it becomes a regular use pattern, that's a warning sign,” says Schwartz.
Schwartz says side effects of marijuana include apathy, cognitive problems, short term memory and coordination issues.
As for drug arrests in Oregon, statistically, the problem is growing.
Oregon State Police recorded its highest "drug seizure" levels in 2011. The biggest portion of the seizures was marijuana. More than 2,600 pounds of marijuana were seized by OSP officers in 2011, along with 24,000 plants.
NewsSource 16 asked the Eugene Police Department for a comment on the issue of marijuana in the city.
EPD says it doesn't have any special mission statement about marijuana, but rather enforces the laws surrounding the drug as necessary. Any illegal drugs that found by Eugene Police officers are seized and any corresponding people who illegally possess those drugs are charged with the relevant crimes.