Our May 3 story “Marijuana 'On Board'” talked about a federal drug-testing program many people had never heard about, including some civil libertarians. Under various names, the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program (or ADAM II), tested male arrestees in ten cities, including Portland, for over two decades. But earlier this year, due to a lack of federal funding, ADAM II dropped 5 of its 10 test cities, Portland among them. Today, the feds released what will presumably be the last ADAM II report listing Portland as a participant. So pay attention, this could be the last time in a while we get these numbers. What’s changed between the 2010 and 2011 report? As it turns out, not much really.
For arrestees tested at Multnomah County’s central jail, drug use remained constant, at about 70 percent, from 2010 to 2011. Meth use did go up: from 20 percent to 23 percent of arrestees. But, opiate use actually dropped from 2010 to 2011, going from 22.6 to 16.3 percent—which, frankly, is a head-scratcher given that heroin-related deaths have been on the rise in Oregon according to the Oregon State Medical Examiner. Oxycodone use was also down. What was up—way up—was marijuana. Use of the herb was at 50.8 percent in 2011, up from 44.5 percent in 2010, which was in turn up from 38.1 percent in 2009.
So what in-the-hell does this all this mean? Who knows. What we can probably say with some certainty is that while other drugs experience their ups and downs, pot has stayed consistency popular. And in 2011, it was more popular then ever.
For those who are curious about drug use among the arrested in Multnomah County, here's a cheat sheet (PDF) taken from the ADAM II reports from 2007-2011.