BEND, OR -- Oregon has the fourth highest rate of substance use disorder in the nation, and a state commission is looking in to how addicts access treatment services. Jill Gray, with the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, sys it can be difficult to find the right treatment because there's no one system, "They are provided through education, through health care, through social services, through corrections, through a whole variety of systems; and that's a very fragmented system." Gray tells KBND News, "Treatment services are really at an abysmal state in Oregon. It's estimated there are 300,000 or more Oregonians who need treatment services, who are unable to access treatment services." Gray says there's no one magical fix, and she says treatment solutions may need to be specific to each region.
The Commission is touring the state, holding "listening sessions" to help design a mission and vision for improving access. They'll be in Bend Thursday, "What we're trying to do is get a lot of feedback from people, so I would expect there's going to be questions, and people should be prepared to answer - even if they have imperfect knowledge - so they join the conversation." The first meeting is geared toward treatment providers and stakeholders. It starts at 1:30 p.m. at COCC's auditorium. Then, a 6 p.m. meeting is focused on families and those impacted by addiction; it's at Skyview Middle School. However, Gray says anyone can attend either gathering. "I know that for a lot of people, addiction is still one of those things that remains in the shadows, and we want to bring it out; we want people to feel comfortable, to talk about it."
The Commission was created by the Legislature to improve state and local substance abuse prevention, and access to treatment and recovery services. Nearly one in 10 Oregonians aged 12 and over is estimated to have a substance addiction.