Gov. Brown declares addiction a public health crisis

Executive order directs agencies to coordinate

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon Governor Kate Brown has declared addiction a public health crisis in the state.
Brown on Tuesday announced an executive order setting a deadline for the state Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission to develop a plan, with intermediary deadlines as early as September. The plan would lay out steps for state agencies.
The announcement came as separate opioid legislation requested by Brown makes its way through the Legislature. It would require the state to study how to improve access to treatment for people addicted to drugs, and requiring doctors to register with a statewide prescription-monitoring system.


News release from Gov. Kate Brown's office:

Governor Brown Calls for Statewide Strategy to Combat Addiction

New executive order will call on agencies across the state to align in addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery priorities 

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown will declare a public health crisis in Oregon due to the growing prevalence and impact of addiction on Oregonian families, their children, and communities. At a rally hosted by Oregon Recovers, Governor Brown announced an upcoming executive order requiring state agencies whose programs address addiction to align their priorities around prevention, treatment, and recovery.

The costs of addiction are often borne by Oregon’s children. Almost 60 percent of children in foster care have at least one parent with a substance abuse disorder, and more than half of the youth in the juvenile justice system enter with addiction issues or a dual diagnosis. Each year in Oregon, over 1,100 people die of drug overdose.

“The ripple effects of addiction devastate families, preventing thousands of Oregonians all across the state from living healthy, productive lives,” said Governor Brown. “This crisis will only worsen without improving access to appropriate treatments, collecting data to drive our policies, and reducing stigma. Addiction is blind to circumstance, but is a root cause of other crises across the state, including foster care. To protect our most vulnerable, we must turn the tide on this treatable illness.”

At the Rally for Recovery event, addicts in recovery and family members shared their experiences with drug addiction and its detrimental effects on their families’ stability, giving context on the current landscape of treatment and recovery programs in Oregon today.

Governor Brown's new mandate will call upon the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission to reduce addiction and alleviate its impacts by identifying the most effective avenues of treatment and opening up access to those treatments by increasing inter-agency cooperation and data-sharing. In addition, the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission will submit funding requests to the Governor for inclusion in her December budget for the 2019-2021 biennium.

This expands upon addiction treatment efforts in one of the Governor’s bills for the current legislative session, HB4143, which requires stronger regulation and support to address the opioid crisis.

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