The Office of the Governor of the State of Oregon

03/08/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/08/2018 18:24

Governor Kate Brown Addresses U.S. Senate on Opioid Epidemic

Testified in Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Oregon's approach to tackling public health crisis

Washington, DC-Governor Kate Brown today testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to share state-level information and perspectives on the opioid crisis, and to provide recommendations on how to better address the public health crisis at a federal level.

'Opioid abuse can begin as easily as reaching into the average family medicine cabinet,' said Governor Brown. 'Addiction is blind to circumstance, but the high costs of addiction are borne by our children, whose parents are unable to care for them while struggling with substance abuse. In Oregon, sixty percent of foster children have at least one parent with substance abuse issues, including opioids.

'If we can make meaningful change in prevention, treatment and recovery from substance abuse, we can create better lives for our families. We can see more success for students in our schools. We would lift a burden off our hospitals. And our law enforcement. And our prisons.'

Brown delivered brief remarks, sharing a personal experience with substance abuse in her family, and then fielded questions from committee members alongside Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland. She highlighted the need to improve data sharing from the federal to the state level and make affordable generic overdose drugs more available. Governor Brown also called for the federal government to turn away from a punitive approach to addiction in favor of a focus on prevention, treatment and recovery.

Governor Brown's bill to tackle the opioid crisis recently was passed in the recent legislative session, and she will be signing it into law this month.