Former Oregon Governor Kitzhaber calls for a “new political constituency” — Oregon Recovers calls for a “Recovery Czar”
Portland—(ENEWSPF)—November 16, 2017
By: Mike Marshall
Former Governor John Kitzhaber called for people in recovery to build “a new political constituency” to demand reform of the state’s current efforts to treat addiction and support recovery. Kitzhaber participated on a panel at the Oregon Health Forum titled “How can we fix Oregon’s addiction services system?’ which included Dr. Rachel Solotaroff, CEO of Central City Concern; Maree Wacker, CEO of DePaul Treatment Center and Mike Marshall, Co-Founder & Director of Oregon Recovers. Judge Eric Bloch, chair of the Oregon Alcohol & Drug Policy Commission, moderated the event.
Judge Bloch introduced the topic to a breakfast crowd of over 250 people by characterizing the current system as “disorganized, disjointed, underfunded and under supported by the state’s political leadership.”
Kitzhaber began by applauding the creation of Oregon Recovers, a statewide advocacy campaign to dramatically improve access to treatment and recovery support, and calling for all stakeholders to recognize the need for a new paradigm in addressing the states addiction issues.
Kitzhaber stated: “Recover Oregon recognizes that these issues are all interrelated and that it is time for the creation of a new broad-based political constituency for the development of an integrated, recovery-oriented system of care that addresses prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery support.
Kitzhaber continued: “I want to make two points this morning: first, is that substance abuse disorder and addiction has become a huge public health crisis in Oregon that is undermining every aspect of our society; and, second, this crisis cannot be addressed by simply tweaking the existing system—it requires nothing short of system transformation.”
Wacker and Solotaroff both detailed each organizations efforts to provide seamless detox, treatment and recovery support but highlighted the lack of funding for post treatment supportive housing, job placement, therapy and overall wellness. Additionally, Wacker pointed out that current state reimbursement rates do not equal the cost of providing treatment, forcing treatment providers to privately fund raise to meet their treatment needs.
Marshall began his remarks by identifying as an individual in long-term recovery and detailed the challenges he faced in getting sober: “Were it not for my own ability to piece together treatment and post treatment support from varying agencies I would not be in recovery today. That is not how a health care system should work. We need a system that focuses on recovery based outcomes, and which treats the disease of addiction as a chronic disease and not just an acute problem.”
According to a recent Mental Health America study, Oregon ranks 49th in access to addiction and mental health treatment and nearly 10% of Oregonians suffer from addiction. According to at 2006 EcoNorthwest study, addiction costs Oregon taxpayers $5.9 billion annually.
“We need to build a political army and demand Oregon move from last to first” Marshall said. “We need the Governor to appoint a “recovery czar” who serves as a single point of accountability for the states addiction recovery effort and we need the ADPC to develop a Comprehensive Strategy for Recovery within a year. We cannot continue to wait for the system to fix itself.”
Oregon Recovers is an inclusive statewide coalition comprised of people in recovery–and their friends and family—uniting to transform Oregon health care to ensure world-class prevention, treatment and recovery support services for Oregonians suffering from the disease of addiction. Oregon Recovers mission for the next five years is to move Oregon from last to first in access to addiction treatment services. More info: www.OregonRecovers.org.
Source: Oregon Recovers