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.