BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners Wednesday approved a five-year plan for spending the local allocation of opioid settlement funds. The county expects to receive $7.1 million dollars over the next 17 years, from the 2018 settlement with pharmaceutical companies.
County Health Services Director Janice Garceau told Commissioners efforts to combat addiction and overdose deaths in the first half of the year are having an impact, "Doubled the distribution of Naloxone and the education and the targeted intervention around Naloxone, and what we’re seeing is that the trend in [Emergency Department] visits for overdose is beginning to go down." She says communities impacted by the fentanyl crisis see an initial spike in overdose deaths, but positive things can happen, "As the community becomes aware, becomes educated, as people who are friends and family members of those who are using become more aware, the loss of life begins to decline."
Garceau says the goal of the new plan is to reduce the number of overdose deaths and increase programs at the Crisis Stabilization Center (pictured), "Adding targeted expert opioid use disorder prevention services, expanding the coordination of surveillance and overdose prevention activities, sustaining existing crisis interventions, adding direct case management and coordination for this forensic population - a very targeted population, and adding recovery peer intervention services." Those peer supports are important, she says, for people struggling with substance use disorder - especially fentanyl, "There’s a real loss of hope and self efficacy that can occur and people can really believe that there’s just no way out of this trap of addiction. And what a peer can offer that I can’t is a window into a journey that led to recovery, and actual evidence that it can be done."
Garceau says in five years, they will need to re-evaluate based on how much money is left.