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State of Emergency

January 21, 2017

China is the daughter of Grace Slick and Paul Kantner, a seminary student, and an online friend. She recently posted this, and it’s with her permission that I share this with you —

The City of Portland and the State of Oregon recently declared a State of Emergency after a major snow event, citing among other things, the need to protect the City’s most vulnerable citizens.

I don’t take exception with the decision, but wouldn’t it be great if our elected leaders acted with the same sense of urgency to the addiction epidemic, which will claim more lives this year than all the snow storms in the history of Oregon combined.

Once the snow clears my question is this: how long do we have to wait, and how many more people have to die, before we declare a State of Emergency around Oregon’s addiction crisis?

Oregon has the highest non-medical use of prescription painkillers of any state in the country. An average of 3 Oregonians die each week from prescription opioid overdose, according to the Oregon Health Authority. In a recent report it was determined that enough people in Oregon were suffering from opioid use disorder, 120,000, that if there was a city of just those people, it would be the state’s third largest city!

Here’s a quote that appeared in the Oregonian from a local official after the weather-related declaration was made this week. Imagine if the same sentiment was expressed about those impacted by addiction in Oregon: “Nobody will be turned away,” Cox said. “We have the capacity necessary to deal with the demand. If the demand should exceed the bed space, we’ll open up more space.”

— Mercy.

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One Comment
  1. Sad, our priorities

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