Portland City Council Unanimously Approves City-Wide Drug Strategy

February 27, 2008

The Portland City Council today unanimously endorsed a sweeping blueprint for a five year, city-wide drug strategy designed to provide a “better life for all of Portland’s children and families, neighborhoods, and businesses.”

“The culture of tolerating drugs needs to change,” said Portland Mayor Tom Potter in touting the plan that he helped initiate.

The plan is designed to change the public’s knowledge and attitudes about the abuse of drugs and alcohol and would set the stage for taking direct action that would prevent substance abuse and change lives.

“It all begins with us,” said Patrick Donaldson, Chairman of CARSA (Community Action to Reduce Substance Abuse), who presented the strategy to the City Council, along with Judy Cushing, President/CEO of Oregon Partnership.  “Portland is passionate about taking on serious issues. And with this one, it’s all about including many diverse groups and community leaders.”

The strategy’s sectors of focus include drug prevention, treatment, law enforcement, public education, financial support and evaluation of impact.

“We need to work with school officials to obtain the support necessary to implement effective and evidence-based drug prevention curriculum K-12,” said Cushing. “We need to change the social norms that accept the abuse of alcohol and other drugs.”

In October 2007, the City of Portland issued an RFP and selected Oregon Partnership to develop a city-wide drug strategy.

City Commissioners echoed Donaldson and Cushing by saying that more needs to be done to improve access to treatment services and to help those who want to enter treatment, but can’t afford it.

Click here to download a copy of the City-Wide Drug Strategy.


Congressional Hearing Should Lead to Better Prevention Efforts

February 14, 2008

Today’s Congressional hearing featuring Roger Clemens and his accuser, Brian McNamee on whether the star pitcher used steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) probably didn’t settle which one of the two is perjuring himself,  but it was one more high-profile chapter in the sordid story about illegal drugs in America.

Should Congress be spending its time on more pressing issues than whether Roger Clemens is telling the truth? Most would probably say yes, but the hearings serve as another vital wakeup call.

The more publicity the Mitchell Report receives and the more attention steroids in sports receives, the more hope there is that the health dangers of these substances come to the forefront in communities all over the country.

It even came up again and again during today’s hearing:  Children, parents, coaches and athletes must get educated about steroids and performance enhancing drugs.  It looks like baseball is finally taking action.  Now it’s up to all of us to start zeroing in on prevention.


February 11, 2008

A unique opportunity to hear from some of Portland’s top career moms!

Tuesday, February 12, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
at Montgomery Park
2701 NW Vaughn Avenue, Portland 97210
Sponsored by Oregon Partnership
Only $35, Register Now!
Parking is Free!

Across Oregon, women are running companies or starting their own businesses, plus managing their children and households. They look like a million dollars as they drop off their child at school before heading into the office for a conference call, they check email on Blackberries from soccer games, they juggle caring for a sick child with meeting a deadline for a strategic marketing plan. How do these Executive Moms do it all? Learn their secrets to success, hear tips for work/life balance, find ways to enlist more help from your partner, extended family and childcare provider, and get advice on how to not only get through it all, but actually enjoy life as a working mom.

Scheduled Panelists:

Lani Hayward, Executive Vice President of Creative Strategies, Umpqua Bank
Carolyn Hollowell, Director of Marketing-Oregon, Cricket-LCW Wireless
Erin Hubert, Vice-President & General Manager, Entercom Radio
Martha Nielsen, PNW Regional Lead/Marketing Manager, Starbucks
Sue Shellenbarger, Work & Family Columnist, The Wall Street Journal
Stephanie A. Smith, M.A., Professional Coach, Carpenter Smith Consulting
Joani Wardwell, Director of Public Relations, Wieden + Kennedy
Panel discussion will be led by Natali Marmion, News Anchor, KATU. Natali has been with KATU for more than ten years. She is married with two children.

To Register, email Danny Slifman or call 503-244-5211.

Click here to download the training flyer.

Multnomah County Shows Higher Rates of Alcohol Problems

February 7, 2008

While illegal drug use and the problems that ensue often grab the headlines, recent statistics show that alcohol abuse is still reaching unacceptable proportions.

And it is especially true among residents in Oregon’s most populous county.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 9.15% of Multnomah County residents have problems with alcohol abuse and/or addiction.  That translates to more than 50-thousand residents and is 21% higher than the 7.6% state level.

More than twice as many Multnomah County residents are believed to have problems with alcohol than having problems with illicit drugs.

“This proves again that far and away, alcohol is still #1 in terms of abuse,” says Judy Cushing, President/CEO of Oregon Partnership, a statewide non-profit providing drug and alcohol prevention and treatment referral. “We know more than we ever had about the physiological and psychological  impact of alcohol abuse. And prevention efforts need to start with kids and teens.”  

Meanwhile, the percentage of the population needing, but not receiving alcohol treatment is 8.7% versus the state’s 7.14%.  More than twice as many Multnomah County residents need alcohol treatment as those needing drug treatment.

While the number of Oregonians receiving substance abuse treatment rises, thousands of Oregonians needing treatment for substance abuse are not receiving it.  The reasons include severe reductions in state funding, more people without health insurance, and a rising population.

Every dollar invested in addition treatment programs yields a return of between four dollars and seven dollars in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft.  When savings related to health care are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ration of 12 to 1.

Heath Ledger’s Death Should Serve as Warning of Growing Prescription Drug Abuse

February 6, 2008

The conclusion by the New York City medical examiner’s office that actor Heath Ledger died from an accident resulting from the abuse of prescription drugs will hopefully bring more attention to this tragically growing problem.

Oregon Partnership is calling for heightened prevention and education to reverse the national and statewide trend of prescription drug abuse.

According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Oregon ranks 8th in the nation for the non-medical use of pain relievers, while Oregon youth (ages 12-17) rank fourth in the nation in the same category.

With so much attention on illegal drugs, the abuse of prescription drugs often doesn’t show up on the radar. It’s time that parents, lawmakers, and schools make education and prescription drug prevention a priority.

Parents especially, should be aware that because of prescription drugs are legal, there may be a false sense of security on the part of teenagers. As is the case with alcohol, most teens who abuse prescription drugs, get them from their parent’s medicine cabinets.

Like alcohol, too many prescription medications cloud one’s judgment, leaving an individual unclear about how much they’ve taken.  The result could be all too similar to the Heath Ledger tragedy.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly one in ten high school seniors admit to abusing prescription painkillers, while 40 percent of teens and an almost equal number of their parents think abusing prescription painkillers is safer than abusing “street” drugs.

Nearly 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs – more than the number who abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy, and inhalants combined.  That’s an 80 percent increase in just six years.

In a statement issued by Ledger’s father, “Heath’s accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage.”

Get Serious About Medical Marijuana Abuse in Oregon

February 5, 2008

It’s time that Oregon legislators get serious about the state’s out-of-control medical marijuana situation and reverse the trend that is getting worse in a hurry.

As the Oregonian pointed out in an editorial this week, the rate of marijuana use by adult Oregonians is 50% above the national rate.  And now, there is proposed legislation that would weaken workplace rules regarding those who hold medical marijuana cards. 

 Let’s not wait until we see more traffic fatalities and workplace injuries caused by those who obtain medical marijuana cards under false pretenses. 

 This is a problem that is fixable, so let’s fix it now.Medical marijuana abuse is a runaway train if  left untouched.