This Sunday, May 21, a “Vice” segment airing on Showtime will bring Portland even more national media attention. As the segment’s title, “The Other Drug Crisis,” suggests, the story focuses on how Portland is a microcosm of a larger problem: the influx of a highly addictive type of meth into Portland, which is contributing to a mental health emergency.
The documentary series “The Other Drug Crisis” episode opens with Paola Ramos reporting from a meth lab in Mexico that is run by a prominent drug cartel. The lab is making P2P meth, a novel form of meth that is both cheap and highly addicting.
Check out The Oregonian’s tweet on Vice’s revealing investigation into Portland’s super meth underground.
‘Vice’ documentary explores Portland’s struggles with ‘super meth’ crisis https://t.co/LYhx5jG82c
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) May 20, 2023
An employee claims that just 10% of the ingredients for meth are imported from China, while the remaining 90% are readily available in the area. This “super meth,” as the study calls it, is now streaming into U.S. cities like Portland, where it has been linked to increased rates of homelessness, mental health difficulties, and addiction.
Ramos visits Portland, where she and the police officers ride bicycles among drug users on the streets and communicate with them. Images of homeless people living in tents and others who appear to be under the influence of drugs give an unflattering portrayal of Portland.
Ramos claims, “Meth is everywhere here.” According to one of the policemen, things appear to be getting worse.
An OHSU addiction specialist agrees with Ramos that not enough research has been done to prove how P2P meth impacts the brain and how it compares to older forms of meth, but he does acknowledge that this cheap, addicting type of meth is overwhelming the system.
Meth on the streets today makes individuals “crazy,” and they suffer from hallucinations, as mentioned in one of the interviews conducted by Ramos, who also speaks with meth addicts.
Ramos claims that the media and government have been too preoccupied with the opioid crisis to give the meth pandemic the attention it deserves. Sharon Meieran, an emergency department physician and member of the Multnomah County Commission, is another person with whom Ramos speaks.
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According to Meieran, there was a point when it seemed like people were using the older version of meth less and less. Meieran, though, claims that the new meth variant and fentanyl are exacerbating the issue. “We are definitely at the heart attack phase of the methamphetamine crisis,” Meieran says.
In the 30-minute “Vice” episode “The State of Israel & The Other Drug Crisis,” airing at 8 p.m. on Showtime on Sunday, May 21, the Portland part can be seen. The series is available for streaming on Paramount Plus with Showtime, which provides a free 7-day trial.