Governor Kate Brown Saturday led governors from across the country in a strategic conversation on the opioid crisis at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting.
“There are too many Americans who feel the impact of the opioid crisis every single day. We can never look at opioid abuse in isolation,” said Governor Brown. “In Oregon, sixty percent of foster children have parents who struggle with addiction in general, including opioids. We must focus on prevention, on treatment, and on recovery to turn the tide on this epidemic.
“Right now, the federal government recognizes the problem but is overly focused on punishment. That leaves us, the states, to right the wrongs of a war on drugs that has done nothing to address the issues that drive this health crisis. At the same time, our prisons and foster care systems are filled to capacity with its victims.”
Topics raised at the meeting ranged from addiction support services, reaching out to those suffering from addiction, to how states can monitor their progress in addressing the opioid crisis.
Governor Brown strongly recommended to other Governors the work that has come out of the Opioid Task Force, which she created in September 2017. That body informed her opioids bill, HB 4143, which is currently making its way through the Oregon Legislature. The bill builds Oregon’s approach to tackling the crisis head-on by looking for ways to lower barrier to treatment, requiring prescribers to register in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, and creative pilot projects to connect people in recovery more quickly with the resources.
Governor Brown is also focused on substance abuse issues more broadly in efforts to improve the lives of Oregonian families and children, as outlined in an upcoming executive order.