PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon ranks last in the nation in providing addiction treatment access — and the Portland City Council is looking into changing that statistic.
Council members are getting ready to vote on Wednesday to add nine new "sobering beds" at the Unity Center's Psychiatric Hospital. This would cost the city over $330,000. On top of sobering services, those seeking treatment would also get access to a nurse, a social worker and peer counseling.
"So, nine is a drop in the bucket. Portland could probably use at least 50 beds," said Jason Renaud, board secretary of the Mental Health Association of Portland.
He says this is a great starting step for the city, but he hopes to see more services available for those actively battling addiction and wanting help.
"Oregon and Portland is way behind in the nation in providing addiction treatment resources. Not just addiction treatment, but housing and other support services necessary for addicts to get a restart and get into sobriety," said Renaud.
Getting clean in Portland isn't easy. We've reported numerous times on people being turned away from two of Portland's largest addiction treatment centers, Fora Health in Southeast Portland and Hooper Detox and Stabilization Center in North Portland.
That's because there's simply not enough space to keep up with the high demand.
"Any bed would make an impact,” said Renaud. “You can save a life with medical detoxification. And we've done that thousands and thousands of times here in Oregon we have had medical detoxification for a long time."
Renaud said if the city is looking to make a positive change in drug detox services, then the council should vote to pass this proposal. But he added that what comes after the detox is crucial as well.
"Medical detoxification is a gateway for alcohol and drug treatment. Both here in Oregon and across the country," Renaud said. "So it's not only important that we have additional beds for sub-acute and acute detoxification, but it's also important that those beds lead to additional ongoing outpatient and inpatient drug treatment."