The experiments with hallucinogenic drugs years ago were meant to find out if they had therapeutic uses... could LSD and its relatives help people? 

The answers were never made definitive, because the federal government put the psychedelics on the most restrictive list of drugs in the country. 

Now a group here, the Oregon Psilocybin Society, is exploring getting psilocybin ("magic mushrooms") legalized for use. 


Drug addiction is one of the stories of our time.  Still. 

The drugs change, but the addictions keep on coming, despite The War on Drugs and many other efforts to stop people from taking drugs they do not need. 

The country is focused on opioid prescription drugs at the moment, and the heroin addictions they can lead to. 

But Addictions Recovery Center in the Rogue Valley stays focused on getting people into recovery, no longer feeding their addictions.  ARC's story goes back 40 years and more, and its configuration has changed, but the mission remains the same.


The reaction was sharp and negative when Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of one of its drugs... from $13.50 per pill to $750.00.  The company CEO was later sent to jail, but not for the drug prices. 

Regulators appear powerless to affect drug prices.  Or did, until California passed a state law to require drugmakers to provide more information and time when they raise prices. 

We discuss drug prices and how they are set with Mariana Socal of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

We also touch on the affordability of drug prices for cancer patients with hematologist-oncologist Dr. Vinay Prasad of Oregon Health and Sciences University.

HIV Alliance Promotes Use Of Naloxone

Aug 23, 2017
Mark Oniffrey, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55153415

The HIV Alliance in Eugene puts a lot of time and effort into curbing the chances of people getting HIV infections. 

The alliance already offers needle exchanges, so intravenous drug users do not risk infection by using dirty needles. 

Now it also offers doses of Naloxone, the drug that can bring people back from an overdose of Heroin or opioids. 

The efforts included giving instructions in the use of Naloxone at the recent Douglas County Fair. 

Drug Possession Is Now A Misdemeanor In Oregon

Aug 16, 2017

A bill signed by Oregon's governor has reclassified personal-use possession of cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs as a misdemeanor from a felony.

Among its supporters are the police and sheriffs' associations, which said felony convictions include unintended consequences, including barriers to housing and employment.


Headlines in other parts of the country keep saying Oregon has "decriminalized" some drug offenses. 

That is not quite the case, but it is true that the legislature recently voted to turn some drug possession felonies into misdemeanors. 

Two reasons: 1) reduce pressure on prisons; 2) offer drug treatment instead of time behind bars. 

The Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police supports the change (up to a point), along with other law enforcement groups.  Kris Allison is chief of police in Central Point and vice president of the chiefs association. 

Phil Bettin is the programs officer at the Addictions Recovery Center in Medford.


Stories about drug addiction tend to have some common themes. 

One of them is that people often think that they will NOT get addicted.  And they're usually wrong. 

Kyle Simpson was a happy college student, by his own description.  But he got addicted to drugs and had to fight his way back to the life he'd known. 

He made a documentary about his experience, called simply "Junk."  It screens on Tuesday (April 11) at Southern Oregon University. 

How Naloxone Can Save Overdose Victims

Feb 20, 2017
Mark Oniffrey, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55153415

The opioid painkiller epidemic took a strange twist when doctors clamped down on the prescription drugs.  Users began turning to heroin as a replacement for opioids, and the heroin overdose death rate shot up. 

In response, many communities have begun equipping first responders with the drug naloxone--also called Narcan--to revive overdose patients long enough to get medical help. 

Julia Pinsky's son died of a heroin overdose; she started "Max's Mission" to help distribute naloxone. 

Sara Smith is a nurse and organizer for a naxolone support group under Oregon Pain Guidance

Brett Johnson is deputy police chief in Medford. 

Confronting Opioid Addiction

Oct 10, 2016

Who would have thought that the drug story of our time is a story of legal drugs, prescribed by doctors? 

Opioids, prescription painkillers, became highly popular for pain management.  And then they became a source of consternation for health workers and police, as people began committing crimes to obtain the drugs or to obtain money to buy them, because they are so highly addictive. 

RxSafe Humboldt is one of several coalitions that have cropped up to address opioid addictions in our communities. 

Making A Case For Psychedelics

Mar 28, 2016

Many of them are illegal under current drug laws, but lots of people believe in the beneficial uses of psychedelic drugs.

And they'll get a chance to convene and compare notes at the Exploring Psychedelics Conference next week (April 7-8) at Southern Oregon University, the third edition of this event. 

Matt Vogel and Martin Ball organized the first event and have watched it grow. 

Getting On The ARC For Detox

Jan 7, 2016

No matter what else is going on in society, people get hooked on drugs and have trouble getting sober.

That's kept Addictions Recovery Center--ARC in most references--in business for four decades in the Rogue Valley. 

ARC is in the process of expanding its services and staff to handle the load. 


  There's more than one approach to ending drug addiction.

Lane County's Methadone Treatment Program uses a bio-psycho-social model. 

The program goes beyond the present-tense of the craving of drugs and delves into past experiences and how they contribute to addiction. 

At a time when addictions are common, the clinic has a waiting list for its services. 

Inside JPR's "Silent Epidemic"

Jul 5, 2015
Public Domain

The search for pain relief is turning respectable members of the community into drug addicts.

It's happened for years, since the introduction of the highly effective and highly addictive opioid pain killers, like Oxycontin and Vicodin. 

Doctors are now trying to limit prescriptions to them, but that's sent some people turning to heroin for relief. 

JPR reporter Liam Moriarty researched the issue in a series of reports, "Silent Epidemic."

Breaking The Cycle Of Opioid Abuse

Aug 4, 2014

While much of the focus on illegal drug abuse went to meth and heroin, prescription drugs came along and became a huge problem. 

The opioids--Oxycontin and the like--are responsible for much of the illegal drug trade. 

And medical professionals have teamed up to curb the trade, through groups like the Opioid Prescribers Group in the Rogue Valley. 

The "New Approach" To Legal Marijuana In Oregon

Jul 15, 2014
United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Signatures are still being counted, but it appears nearly certain that Oregon voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for personal use in the November election. 

New Approach Oregon is behind the campaign for the measure. 

It calls its approach "the new gold standard" for its careful construction: marijuana for users, taxes for government, prohibition for minors. 

Uses (And Abuses) Of Psychedelic Drugs

May 29, 2014

The "Psychedelic 60s" are way behind us, and Timothy Leary died a generation ago. 

But the class of drugs that fascinated Leary--psychedelics like LSD--still fascinate some people today. 

Research and reporting on psychedelics is on an upswing, and an "Exploring Psychedelics in Culture, Religion, and Science" conference is planned for Friday at Southern Oregon University. 

Drug Abuse Deaths Stable In Oregon

May 12, 2014
Public Domain

If deaths caused by drug abuse are dropping in Oregon, it's a very slow drop. 

The State Medical Examiner's office recently released its annual report on drug-related deaths, covering the year 2013. 

There was exactly one fewer death caused by drugs than the year before, but there are some bright spots within the numbers. 

From Drug Prosecutor To LEAP-er

Mar 12, 2014
United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Complaints about America's longstanding war on drugs are common. 

And some of the complaints come from people who were soldiers in that war. 

Inge Fryklund of Bend prosecuted members of drug gangs in Chicago and met opium growers in Afghanistan. 

California Senate Leader Opposes Legal Marijuana

Sep 27, 2013
Capital Public Radio Network

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says he doesn’t back the legalization of marijuana.  That’s despite a new poll showing majority support and a new voter initiative entering circulation for signatures.

Steinberg: “I’ve seen too many people that I grew up with ruin their lives as a result of using that drug and other drugs.  And I just don’t think we should legalize it.”

Beating Addiction: "Digging Holes in My Soul"

Sep 18, 2013
Dean Scholl

Dean Scholl thought he was just living life to its fullest.