BEND, OR -- Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) was in Central Oregon Tuesday to talk about the widespread opioid crisis. "We lose more Oregonians to drug addiction overdose than we do in car accidents. And it's part opioids, part heroin, part all of that," he told KBND News after a roundtable meeting with local healthcare and law enforcement officials.
Walden says a lot of work is being done to help addicted Central Oregonians, but recovery efforts aren't always successful, and they take tremendous resources. "It's expensive, it's debilitating, and it's deadly." He says he's impressed by how the community is dealing with the issue. "This is a disease and an addiction, and to get them treatment and housing and to get them back into productive lives is really hard work, but essential work."
Walden says that things like National Take-Back Day help in the effort, but he's also looking at a permanent prescription return center, where people could return unused opioids safely. "Why is it we don't have a very simple and often used system to get rid of, safely, our surplus medicines? We should. If we can do it for pop cans and beer bottles and ink cartridges and cardboard, we should be able to find a recycling systems that works conveniently and easily to get rid of our surplus medicines."
National Take-Back Day is October 28, where people can return unused opioid prescriptions and other medications at designated locations.