Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)  once again got people talking about the opioid epidemic in Washington County last week. This was the fifth discussion the Congresswoman has convened on the opioid crisis, following similar events in Multnomah, Columbia, Clatsop, and Yamhill counties.

Bonamici convened a discussion about the crisis with Washington County Commissioner Bob Terry, Sheriff Pat Garrett, health care providers, social service providers, and people in recovery.

Here’s what CODA Executive Director Tim Hartnett had to say about the issue:

This is an ‘all hands on deck’ moment in the opioid epidemic,…Substance use disorders are the single biggest challenge to Oregon’s families and communities. This public health challenge will be with us for decades to come. It demands that we rethink our entire approach to the issue of substance abuse. Health care, neighborhood associations, law enforcement, social services, schools, faith communities and all who help bind our communities together must take a fresh look at using prevention, stigma reduction and proven treatment models to save lives. This demands tireless cooperation between us, and willingness to bring creative and forward-thinking proposals to the table and stay there for as long as it takes.”

Marni Kuyl, RN, MS, the Director of Health and Human Services for Washington County, said this:

“The opioid epidemic is such a large challenge for our community in Washington County. The only way we will be able to address this crisis is to collaborate with our elected officials, local law enforcement, treatment providers, public health, and health care systems. The ongoing support from Congresswoman Bonamici is critical to ensuring people and families receive the services and support they need.  Anyone can become addicted, so this affects all of us and we must all work together.”

For more about the event and the people, programs, and agencies who participated, check out Congresswoman Bonamici’s webpage.