PORTLAND, Ore. – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici stopped in Multnomah County on Friday, for a roundtable discussion with experts about the opioid crisis, and its impact in the county.
The discussion took place at Central City Concern. Among those in attendance were Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese, District Attorney Rod Underhill, Commissioner Sharon Meieran, health care providers, treatment specialists, school counselors and people in recovery.
Rep. Bonamici wanted to know what the county is doing to help people get rid of pills they don't need, and if people are able to get help to stay clean once they are out of jail. There was also talk about the number of pills providers give patients to manage pain.
But what really made an impact on her, she said, were the personal stories of heartbreak and recovery.
“Telling those personal stories helps make it real back in Washington D.C., instead of talking about the need in the abstract, we can talk about how this is affecting people in the community,” said Rep. Bonamici. “It’s something I am committed to working on. I know it's a serious problem, and we need to be expanding access to healthcare, and that includes mental health care, and treatment as well.”
Portland Public Schools representatives were also at the meeting.
Counselors say addiction starts as young as fourth grade, and affects hundreds of kids in the district, and in every school. They say they will continue education, but want to expand the efforts to more social, emotional and mindful practices.