Oregon Partnership Securing National Acclaim

November 30, 2007

Oregon Partnership continues to receive national recognition for its success in getting Nordstrom to stop selling Reef flip-flops with built-in flasks in each heel.

And to Nordstrom’s credit, they made the move quickly, right after receiving our letter.  We’re gaining traction with national chains to stop selling products promoting binge drinking and underage drinking (ie flask flip-flops).

CADCA, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, wrote about it in their on-line newsletter.

Click here to read the article.


Methamphetamine Awareness Day: Looking to the Future

November 29, 2007

Tomorrow is Methamphetamine Awareness Day, and in the last couple of weeks, there has been a flurry of local and regional news coverage about how homemade meth labs have virtually disappeared in Oregon while meth continues to come into the state from Mexico.  The good, the bad, and more importantly, the future comes to light.

The trends in the meth story we need to watch this year are the following:

*The quality of the drug has diminished as the price has gone up.  And that’s no accident. Mexico has begun putting restrictions on pseudoephedrine, and it is apparently affecting the supply.  Beginning in January, Mexico will prohibit the importation of the precursor chemicle and beginning in January of 2009, pseudoephedrine will be banned – period – in Mexico.

This is going to be fascinating to watch – whether it will have a substantial impact on the meth trade, which – if all goes according to plan – it should.

*If the purity continues going down, the supply diminishing, and the price going up, more meth users might be headed toward treatment.

*Will more treatment for these people be available. If they’re uninsured, that’s a huge problem because rehab is expensive.  Will the state step up? Big question.

Changing Face of Meth Getting Renewed Attention

November 27, 2007

The changing picture of meth use in Oregon continues to warrant expanded media coverage around the state.

A Eugene Register-Guard article by Rebecca Taylor November 24th explains that while meth labs have “all but disappeared in Lane County since the tightening last year of Oregon’s laws restricting access to pseudoephedrine,…meth addition remains a serious problem in Oregon.”

Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association, says that there encouraging signs, however, that Mexico and other countries are becoming more cooperative in restricting pseudoephedrine.

Beginning in January, Mexico will prohibit the importation of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, and all use of the precursor chemicles will be banned throughout the country by January of 2009.

The result is a higher street price for meth with the purity going down.

As Bovett points out, this is a golden opportunity to do what we need to do “in terms of prevention, enforcement and treatment.”


Oregon Partnership Collects BIG CHECK at Blazers Game!

November 26, 2007

A big night for Oregon Partnership at tonight’s Blazers-Magic game at the Rose Garden. That’s when we’re awared the oversized check at half-time for a whopping total of 40-thousand, 500 dollars – the money that was raised for OP at the 6th annual Bell Blazers golf tournament this past September. We’re also going to be presenting a one-minute video about OP on the new and improved and BIG screen during half-time. So hopefully, a lot more folks will be learning about Oregon Partnership and the good things we do in the field of drug prevention and education.

The Blazers and Taco Bell have been generous supporters of OP, and we make a good fit. They’re trying to show that they are good community partners. And as a matter of fact, so are we. Blazers Executive Vice-President for Business Affairs, Mike Golub, is OP’s newest board member, and already Mike has helped us getting OP’s name out there to folks who might not ordinarily come into contact with us. And if the Blazers can make it two straight home wins – against a tough Orlando team, so much the better.

The Meth Labs are Gone in Oregon, but Meth Isn’t

November 21, 2007

Yesterday’s article in the Portland Tribune about the status of meth in Oregon was disturbing, yet not surprising to those of us at Oregon Partnership.

Reporter Nick Budnick tells us  while meth labs in Oregon have virtually disappeared (now that pseudoephederine products are by prescription only), the supply of meth from Mexico is stepping up

Budnick’s account is spot on, providing some compelling quotes from area law enforcement officers who must contend with a bigger supply of meth entering the state, while the quality goes down, the price goes up, and the damage to children and families continues.

“Oregon adopted the most stringent anti-meth laws in the nation,” writes Budnick. But “That success has borne unintended consequences – thanks to a massive influx of meth supplied by Mexican drug caretels.”

Actually, there are those of us who believed that once the labs were wiped out, other supplies would begin filling the vaccum.  And that leads to the next major step, which is already under way – and that’s  building awareness of the inherent dangers of meth.

Thanks to media coverage and programs such as “Crystal Darkness,” which was seen by almost a million TV viewers around the state, there is growing knowledge about how ugly and addictive meth is.  This is not a drug to be experimented with.  Scientists and researchers will tell you that it takes a single time of smoking meth to become addictive.

That just doesn’t happen with other illegal drugs. 

Oregon Partnership is all about awareness and prevention.  And it’s no different now that we know that meth isn’t going away any time soon.  Attack the problem before it starts – by educating, informing and talking.

Oregon Partnership in with Warning about OLCC proposal

November 15, 2007

           The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is considering relaxing a rule involving minors being allowed in establishments where alcohol is served. Oregon Partnership’s position? Some red flags that cannot be ignored.

 This proposed rule revises the rule section that specifies when and under what conditions a minor may be present in a licensed facility.  It retains the general standard of prohibiting minors when there is a “drinking environment.”  Generally, this means that drinking is the primary activity versus eating or entertainment or some other activity.  The rule is substantially reorganized and rewritten.  However, the important change is that it would allow minors to be in more licensed establishments where alcohol is served.   

The major area of change is for venues that typically have live entertainment attractive to youth.  To permit minors in these places, a detailed control plan is required.  The specifies what must be in a control plan and how it must demonstrate that minors will not obtain alcohol or be exposed to a “drinking environment.”  The rule includes a new provision giving the OLCC the ability to cite the licensee if they fail to follow their own control plan.  This is an important change which will make the control plan more than just a paper document.

 Oregon Partnership’s Position:   

1.      Oregon Partnership advises a very cautious approach with strict enforcement. In drafting the rule, OLCC staff has made a substantial effort to exercise care and caution in allowing more opportunities for youth to enjoy live entertainment and other activities.  Oregon Partnership believes OLCC should continue this cautious approach in granting this privilege and should strictly enforce the control plans.

2.      Oregon Partnership will not support this rule if it generally allows young children in places where alcohol is served.  We do not see anything in the rule which addresses this issue.  There is a trend of young tweens and teens—particularly girls (age 12, 13, 14)—partying with older males in their 20s.  This rule should not facilitate this dangerous trend.  Oregon Partnership sees a big difference in allowing 18, 19 and 20 year old youth in entertainment venues versus younger children.  For the most part, we believe these provisions should apply to 18, 19 and 20 year olds.  We understand from OLCC staff that a Control Plan can include restrictions by age; however, we do not see this in the rule and would need some assurance about this issue.


3.      Oregon Partnership is concerned about the lack of OLCC enforcement resources.  While OLCC received funding for additional staff from the last Legislative Session, that still doesn’t meet current needs.  We note that OLCC added 463 licenses in the most recent fiscal year.  We would prefer to see new OLCC resources devoted to underage sales compliance checks, a proven method of reducing illegal sales.  This rule will divert enforcement resources from other things

4.      Oregon Partnership believes the OLCC relies too heavily on  the criterion of “drinking environment” and should give more consideration to the increase in access. While no one wants minors in a drinking environment, the research is pretty clear that access should be a major consideration.  Research now shows a correlation between the number of alcohol outlets and community problems including underage drinking. This makes sense as more outlets require more enforcement, training of clerks/servers, etc.  With the number of licenses growing every year, some recognition of this problem should appear in the rule.  It also should give weight to the need for a cautious approach in adding opportunities for youth to be in alcohol serving venues.   

Nordstrom Agrees to Discontinue Sale of Flask Flip-Flops

November 9, 2007

Big kudos to Nordstrom.

While shopping there recently, I saw a product that was not worthy of the Nordstrom image: flip-flops with a built-in polyurethane flask in each heel.

The flip-flops, manufactured by Reef, also come with a tiny funnel for filling the flask and a plastic key to open the three-ounce flasks.  They are advertised as a “drink come true.”

So we wrote a letter to Nordstrom management and complained. 

We’ve found that products like these are attractive to underage drinkers, and apparently Nordstrom agrees with us.

 Eric Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom stores, called us to say that the flip-flops are a “ridiculous product” and that the company will discontinue selling the items.

OP has been successful with other chains in dropping products, such as drinking games and t-shirts that promote drinking.  But it usually happens after substantial media coverage.

 This time, Nordstrom responded to our letter within a few days.  We’re excited that companies such as Nordstrom realize that attacking underage drinking is a community responsibility.

Pete Schulberg, Communications Director

Oregon Partnership