Operation Wildfire

On Wednesday, January 16, 2019, the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT) executed “Operation Wildfire”. Operation Wildfire is a seven month investigation aimed at identifying, disrupting and/or dismantling Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) operating in Umatilla, Morrow, Union, and Gilliam counties in Oregon. The complete news release can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

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Updated Oregon-Idaho HIDTA Cannabis Assessment Report Issued

Relevant statistics and data surrounding cannabis in Oregon which are reported by various sources are constantly changing and the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA continuously reviews the information that is made available. As part of the program’s continuing review of available, reliable and relevant data surrounding cannabis in Oregon, a noticeable shift in Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) and Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) registrant information for grow sites and producers was identified.  Because the new information reflects a fairly significant change from the data reported in  An Initial Assessment of Cannabis Production, distribution, and Consumption in Oregon 2018 – An Insight Report which was published last week, the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA has amended previously reported data and has issued an updated report.

Changes from the previous report are summarized below:

  • OLCC reported producer statistics are updated and clarified with figures from August 1, 2018 – pages 9, 13, and 15
  • OMMP grow site statistics are updated and clarified with figures from July 2018 – page 15

  • Reported grow site to user ratio updated – pages 9, 13, and 16

  • Info-graphic showing ratio of grow site to users updated – page 16

  • Essential Elements of Information (EEI) updated – pages 9 and 13

  • OLCC and OMMP retailer, wholesaler, and caregiver statistics updated with information from August 1, 2018 and July 2018, respectively – pages 9, 13, and 20

  • Updated technical appendix to reflect new calculations time frame – page 46

  • All footnotes have been adjusted to reflect the data changes

The updated version of An Initial Assessment of Cannabis Production, Distribution, and Consumption in Oregon 2018 – An Insight Report (8-6-18) is located in the REPORTS & FORMS section of this web site. Previous copies of the report which were released prior to 8-6-18 should be replaced with the new version.

Police Executive Research Forum Releases Comprehensive Report on the Opioid Epedimic

On September 27, 2017 the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) released a comprehensive report on the opioid epidemic in the United States, The Unprecedented Opioid Epidemic: As Overdoses Become a Leading Cause of Death, Police, Sheriffs, and Health Agencies Must Step Up Their Response.

The following is a brief explanation from PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler about the report:

As the title of the report suggests, the opioids crisis is continuing to worsen, despite some amazing work over the last few years by police departments, public health agencies, drug treatment programs, hospitals, and many other organizations. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released in August, indicate that drug overdose deaths totaled 64,070 in 2016 - a 21-percent increase over 2015.  Approximately three-fourths of those deaths involved opioid drugs.
Furthermore, the new CDC statistics confirm what many police chiefs have been telling us:  Fentanyl and carfentanil are driving the sharp increases in opioid deaths. In 2016, CDC identified 15,466 fatalities resulting from heroin overdoses, but significantly more deaths - 20,145 - caused by fentanyl or other synthetic opioids.
To put these numbers in context, consider the following: 
  • Drug overdose deaths last year were more than double the number of homicides in the peak year for murders, back in 1991.
  • Drug overdose deaths were more numerous than automobile fatalities in the worst year ever, back in 1972, when the only safety devices in cars were seat belts.
  • Drug overdose deaths are also more numerous that HIV deaths in 1995, which was the worst year of the AIDS epidemic.
  • Drug overdose deaths last year also outnumber American fatalities during the entire course of the Vietnam War.
PERF has been focusing attention on this ongoing tragedy for three years. Since 2014, we have convened three national conferences on the opioids crisis, and the report I am sending you today is our third major report on it. 
We keep coming back to opioids because the crisis has not yet peaked.  It shows no signs of abating - even though many police and sheriffs' departments are breaking new ground on a daily basis, coming up with new initiatives that would have been off their radar screen a few years ago.
For example, many police agencies today are actively working to get addicted persons into treatment - in some cases, inviting addicts to come to a police station in order to get enrolled in a treatment program. And when a heroin addict has a nonfatal overdose, some departments send police officers and health clinicians to knock on the addict's front door the next morning, to offer help and make sure they know about treatment options and other services that are available.
We are told that addicted persons and their family members truly appreciate these "house calls," because for many people, there is still a stigma to drug abuse, so they can speak more freely in their own homes than they would if they went to a government office to ask for help.
Another major development is the increasing trend by police and other agencies to gather intelligence about overdoses and analyze the information quickly to prevent deaths. If a batch of fentanyl-laced heroin is causing fatal overdoses, police are scrambling to detect it quickly, connect the dots, and issue warnings to prevent further deaths.
Because four out of five heroin addicts began with prescription opioids, not heroin, police also are seeing a new role for themselves in helping to break that pattern, by warning community members about the risks associated with opioid-based pain relievers.  The federal CDC agency has produced reports, fact sheets, brochures, posters, and other resources that police can use to educate the public about these risks.
One of the toughest issues about the opioid crisis is what role prosecutors can take to reduce the deaths.  This is explored in detail in our new report. Unfortunately, current federal drug laws are not well-suited to support heroin or fentanyl prosecutions. However, we identified certain types of situations where state, local, and federal prosecutors can and should target opioid dealers and distributors.
PERF is grateful to Commissioner James P. O'Neill and the New York City Police Department, which generously hosted our conference in April 2017, and whose officials provided a wealth of information about New York City's sophisticated, Compstat-based opioids reduction program.
Many police chiefs have told us that the opioids crisis is the most difficult issue they are facing in 2017, and perhaps in their career. I hope you will find this report informative and useful as you take on this issue in your agency.
Best,
Chuck Wexler
Executive Director, PERF

The full report is available online at http://www.policeforum.org/assets/opioids2017.pdf

 

White House Acting Drug Policy Director Richard Baum Announces New Counties to Receive Federal Support for Combating Drug Trafficking

Today (September 28, 2017) Richard Baum, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the designation of 16 new counties in 13 states as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) counties. Among the newly designated counties is Bannock County, Idaho which will become part of the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA Program. To learn more, please click on the button below to read a press release from ONDCP.

Oregon Coalition Recognized for Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

The Oregon Coalition for Responsible Use of Meds (OrCRM)—a statewide coalition convened by Lines for Life—has won a national award for Outstanding Prevention, Treatment, or Public Health Effort from the National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. Selected from over 150 award nominees nationwide, OrCRM launched in 2013 to reduce abuse, misuse, and overdose from prescription drugs.

 "Many organizations and coalitions across the country are working very hard to prevent opioid drug abuse and its tragic consequences”, says Chris Gibson, executive director of Oregon-Idaho HIDTA—a counter-drug grant program that aims to identify, disrupt, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. "OrCRM’s unique approach is multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary and regionally based—a design that makes them stand out from other prevention efforts. It’s easy for people to get together and talk about a problem, but it’s difficult for them to come to consensus on strategies to solve problems and even more difficult to implement those strategies once consensus is reached. OrCRM has successfully worked through these difficulties and is accomplishing the goals that they have set. The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is very proud to support OrCRM’s work and of this well-deserved recognition.”

 OrCRM is most well-known for convening broad arrays of stakeholders at statewide summits designed to develop regional-level action plans. The coalition has convened nearly 1,000 stakeholders in five regions across the state. The action plans developed in each region target four key objectives: (1) reduce the number of pills prescribed by improving pain management practices, (2) expand access to treatment services, (3) better disposal of unused meds, and (4) educate healthcare providers the public about the problem.

 “In the Portland Metro Area, prescription drugs killed as many people as heroin in 2015 and are frequently the gateway to heroin initiation,” says Multnomah County Health Officer Paul Lewis. "OrCRM has become the statewide organizing center for coordinating the needed series of strategies required to defeat this epidemic. We're extremely proud to be part of ORCRM as it receives recognition for its tireless efforts in Oregon.” 

The coalition has generated action across the state to decrease the impacts of the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Strategies range from health system improvements such as better integration of behavioral health care to deployment of naloxone (a drug that reverses the effects of opioid medications to prevent overdose injuries or death) in rural law enforcement patrol cars.

OrCRM members on hand to accept the award during a ceremony on February 9, 2017 in Washington, D.C were Lines for Life CEO Dwight Holton, Tri-County Health Officer Dr. Peter Lewis, CODA Inc. Executive Director Tim Hartnett, Lines for Life Education and Training Coordinator Donna Libemday and Lines for Life Project Manager Elizabeth White.

Pictured left to right: Donna Libemday (Lines for Life), Dr. Paul Lewis (Multnomah County), Tim Hartnett (CODA), Dwight Holton (Lines for Life), Elizabeth White (Lines for Life), Chris Gibson (OR-ID HIDTA) and Tim Doney (OR-ID HIDTA)

Pictured left to right: Donna Libemday (Lines for Life), Dr. Paul Lewis (Multnomah County), Tim Hartnett (CODA), Dwight Holton (Lines for Life), Elizabeth White (Lines for Life), Chris Gibson (OR-ID HIDTA) and Tim Doney (OR-ID HIDTA)