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Oregon Recovers downtown Portland walk promotes healing, community, addressing the state's addiction crisis

Oregon Recovers is an addiction recovery advocacy organization working to tackle the state's addiction crisis head-on.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Recovers, an addiction recovery advocacy organization hosted a walk — Walk For Recovery — on Saturday through the streets of downtown Portland to address the state's addiction crisis.

For the last couple of years, the state of Oregon has ranked high when it comes to the number of people struggling with addiction, while at the same time ranking low — right near the bottom — when it comes to meeting the needs of people fighting addiction.

A couple hundred people participated in the walk — from people in active recovery, to their families and loved ones. 

Through the event Oregon Recovers wanted to build community and celebrate healing, while also advocating for more action in the fight against addiction, according to Executive Director Mike Marshall.

A new OHSU analysis highlights the problems and gaps in Oregon's addiction recovery system by pointing out the lack of prevention specialists, of addiction counselors, of facilities and community centers.

"There is a crisis. There is a solution. And when we implement that solution, Oregon, all of Oregon is going to be lifted up," Marshall said, "The numbers are glaring, but they are now a road map."

Credit: KGW

Marshall explained Portland's Walk For Recovery is one of five across the country. The walk gives participants a chance to proudly promote their recovery journey. 

"That's hugely important, and their family gets to walk alongside them and be proud of them. I get emotional every time I talk about it," said Marshall.

Brandon Lial a participant of the walk, entered recovery in 2017 and hopes his own lived experience with recovery can guide others and show people they're not alone. 

"When I got introduced to it, I just thought it was just a thing that you did because you had to go to court, or had to do because your probation officer told you to do it," he said, "But, when I actually committed to it — it was such a beautiful thing. It was like finding God."

Pam Connelly a founding member of Oregon Moms for Addiction Recovery said her son suffers from substance abuse disorder and has been in recovery for five months, but getting help wasn't easy. 

"For one month straight at 8:30 in the morning I called three different treatment centers and I either got no answer, no return call, promises to call back and no return call," she said, "It’s crazy. If somebody is sober, and calls every single day for a month and gets nowhere, how is somebody in active addiction supposed to get help?"

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