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On this day, January 28, 2003, Oregon voters defeated a proposed three-year income tax hike designed to forestall $310 million in cuts to schools and social services.

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Western Liberty Network Leadership and Activist Training Conference
Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 9:00 am
The year's premiere grassroots activist and leadership conference! Get what you need to be successful in 2023!
Portland Airport Embassy Suites Hotel 7900 NE 82nd Avenue

The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at 7:00 pm
First of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem

The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Second of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem

The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Third of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem

We Are Stronger Together
Monday, March 27, 2023 at 10:00 am
Oregon's Natural Resources & Industries (ONRI) is sponsoring the rally to meet legislators and influencers to bring light on legislation affecting natural resource industries, their families, and their communities. https://onri.us/events
Rally at the State Capitol, Salem.

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Senator Golden Used N Word Multiple Times in Book
Golden uses the word several times in his memoir

Fox News is reporting that Oregon State Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) repeatedly used the word "n-----" in a book he wrote.

Senator Golden published "Watermelon Summer" in 1971 about his experience spending a summer on a Georgia sharecropper farm.

Golden is currently running for re-election against Republican Medford Mayor Randy Sparacino.

Golden uses the word "n-----" several times in the book: Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate and former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has been endorsed by Senator Golden. The Northwest Observer has reached out to her campaign for a comment, but has not yet received a reply.

"Jeff Golden's words are despicable and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms," said Republican State Leadership Committee Spokesman Zach Kraft. "Jeff Golden owes voters a serious apology and every Democrat candidate for state Senate should condemn Jeff Golden's shameful behavior.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-05 14:48:35Last Update: 2022-10-05 15:41:32

Oregon Employment Department to Reconsider Benefit Rules
"Equity and good conscience" as defined by the Internal Revenue Service

The Oregon Employment Department is proposing changes to its Oregon Administrative Rules. They have filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the Secretary of State to amend OARs 471-030-0017 and 471-030-0053, and promulgate 471-030-0320. They say that these rule changes are necessary to extend the provisions of SB 172 from the 2021 Legislative Session.

SB 172 had an operative date of June 23, 2021. It allowed recipients to deduct all or part of unemployment insurance benefit overpayments against future weekly benefits within five years following final decision for overpayments that were the claimant's fault, but not because of willful misrepresentation by the claimant.

471-030-0017 defines when wages are reportable to the Oregon Employment Department for unemployment insurance. This proposed rule will change reporting requirements for individuals receiving back pay while claiming unemployment insurance benefits. Before SB 172, a worker could not report wages from previous weeks. SB 172 allows a claimant to report retroactive pay when it is paid to them, unless it is awarded after a shutdown due to a lapse in federal funding. In that case, the payment must be allocated equally to the weeks of the shutdown.



The Employment Department also proposing a new administrative rule, 471-030-0320. This rule addresses the percentage of future weekly benefits that may be offset according to Oregon Revised Statute 657.215, 657.310, and 657.315. It clarifies that when a decision is issued under ORS 657.306, the five-year time limit called for in SB 172 begins immediately following the week that the decision establishing an overpayment became final. The percentage of future weekly benefits offset will be determined based on whether the overpayment recovery would go against "equity and good conscience" as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.

Lastly, they are proposing AOR 471-030-0053 be permanently amended to make it consistent with the amended ORS 657.317. Currently, a waiver is defined as a temporary, renewable hardship deferral. Under SB 172, a waiver removes all responsibility for repayment for eligible individuals.

These proposed changes may have a fiscal and economic impact to employers, including reimbursing employers and those who pay into the Oregon Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This may include small businesses, state agencies, and units of local government.

--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-10-05 09:41:43Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:54:29

Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Senate District 8
Sara Gelser Blouin v Valerie Draper Woldeit

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Valerie Draper Woldeit is challenging the veteran legislator Sara Gelser Blouin for Senate District 8, which covers northwestern Linn County and northeastern Benton County, centered around Albany and Corvallis.

Draper Woldeit has been a school teacher since 1980 and seen firsthand the short comings of Oregon’s education system. She says, “politicians continually lower standards and then make excuses for the failing government school system. Government keeps pushing extreme agendas in the classroom, pushing mandates and closures.” She wants to get schools back to the basics to prepare students for the real world.

Gelser Blouin’s idea for improving the high school graduation rate is to “empower youth to direct their own services and protecting their right to speak publicly about their own experiences.” Her voting record supports lowering the high school diploma standards due to inequities and disparities. Gelser Blouin carried HB 2023 for a floor vote in 2019 that required all curriculum content include instruction on history, contributions and perspective of minorities including refugees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

In 2018, Gelser Blouin also proposed an amendment to SB 1540 that would have lowered the sexual consent age to 12 allowing 13-year-olds to engage in legal sexual activity with adults. Her education focus seems to be on minorities, eliminating discriminatory barriers particularly for Black, Indigenous and students of color, immigrants and gender identity students.



Gelser Blouin wants to expand access to life-saving mental health treatment. She has trouble walking the talk. She was accused in 2020 for treating her chief of staff harshly for taking leave for mental health reasons. That occurred after she led the charge against the Republican Senators walking-out, and she refused to show up for floor votes, claiming she felt in danger, until another Senator was removed for saying threats against the State Police if they had been deployed during the walk out. Gelser Blouin said, “the situation shows that the Legislature had learned little from a sexual harassment suit she had brought the prior year.”

Gelser Blouin has a narrow focus platform discussing every issue from the point of tackling longstanding disparities for BIPOC communities in health care and stopping any efforts to roll back equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. She opposes any effort to restrict women’s access to abortion.

Draper Woldeit believes Oregon has failed at nearly every level at honoring the dignity of life. “Every life has value, regardless of age. I will be a strong advocate for our most vulnerable, from the unborn, to foster youth, and the elderly.” She wants to go to Salem to be a check and balance on government power and overreach so shut downs and mandates never happen again.

Gelser Blouin’s stance on the economy is to continue to pass legislation to reduce carbon emissions, invest in communities impacted by the effects of climate change, and make transportation investments and policies that reduce reliance on fossil fuels. She voted to allow tolling, and supports the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain.

Draper Woldeit pledges to be a strong supporter of law enforcement and thinks Oregon can do better to provide a safe and prosperous place to live, curb inflation and stop government from constantly raising taxes with nothing to show for it. She believes in reviving our culture of constitutional rights and liberties. She says, “it’s time to change course by reforming taxes and cutting red tape to make our beautiful state more affordable and unleash Oregon jobs...so every Oregonian has the opportunity to realize their full potential.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-05 09:16:15Last Update: 2022-10-05 16:20:17

Balmer to Retire from State High Court
He served as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court

Governor Kate Brown announced today she is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Oregon Supreme Court created by the upcoming retirement of Justice Thomas Balmer. The Governor thanked Justice Balmer for his dedicated judicial service. The retirement of Justice Balmer is effective December 31, 2022, and the appointee will begin service immediately thereafter.

Balmer served as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court from May 1, 2012, replacing Paul De Muniz. Martha Lee Walters succeeded Balmer as Chief Justice on July 1, 2018, although Balmer has continued to serve as an associate justice.

Last year there were vacancies on the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Court of Appeals, for which candidates were interviewed and vetted by the Governor’s Office and the Oregon State Bar in a combined appellate judicial appointment process. Applicants who already submitted interest forms as part of last year’s appointment process will be considered for Justice Balmer’s position and need not apply again. A list of previous applicants can be found here, and the Oregon State Bar’s recommendations from that applicant pool can be found here.

ORS 2.020 provides that a judge of the Supreme Court must be a citizen of the United States, have resided in Oregon for at least three years before their appointment, and have been admitted to practice in Oregon before standing for election.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-04 06:32:41Last Update: 2022-10-05 13:57:57

Temporary Food Plaza to Become Safe Space
It will also create active, green public space

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has announced that federal funding will help create permanent plazas downtown, including a segment of the future Green Loop. The Pride Plaza at SW 12th Ave and Harvey Milk Street is an example of a Portland Public Street Plaza that provides outdoor gathering space, with restaurants operating outdoors. Thanks to a federal grant, the plaza will have permanent improvements next year.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that the Portland Bureau of Transportation will receive a $1.2 million federal grant to create 32,000 square feet of street plazas to promote tourism and the economic recovery of downtown. The grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

The federal investment will make permanent improvements for Pride Plaza, at SW 12th and Harvey Milk Street, where a temporary plaza was created during the pandemic to create safe space for community gatherings, business use and public art. It will also create active, green public space to connect the Cart Blocks food cart pods at Ankeny Park West to O'Bryant Square Park.

Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty thanked the Biden Administration and U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici for their support of the grant application.

"During this pandemic, we learned how important it is to use our outdoor public space for community members to come together," Hardesty said. "We are so grateful to the Biden Administration and our Congressional delegation members for this federal support. Last year, I directed PBOT to make our street plazas and outdoor dining programs permanent. Plazas like these downtown will help us make Portland a more inclusive, equitable place, and help grow our small businesses and cultural destinations."



Planning and community involvement in the design of the Harvey Milk Plaza improvements will start in early 2023, with construction by the fall. One former legislator who declined to be identified said, "It seems odd that a transportation bureau would celebrate the removal of transportation infrastructure and the use of transportation dollars on items not related to transportation in a city choked by congestion."

The plaza connection to the Cart Blocks will build a segment of the future Green Loop, a concept for a 6-mile linear park with leafy green canopy, urban pedestrian plazas and engaged adjacent development that unites Portland's Central City neighborhoods. Construction will happen soonest near the food cart pods, and in subsequent years on the other sections. Sections adjacent to O' Bryant Square Park will be coordinated with the redevelopment of the park, which is closed due to structural issues with an underground parking garage.

Map of destinations near the street plazas funded by commerce department. This map shows the approximate locations of plazas that will benefit from federal funding. The Harvey Milk Plaza goes from West Burnside to SW 11th Avenue. The segment of the Green Loop connects the Cart Blocks at West Burnside and Park Avenue to O'Bryant Square, which is planned for redevelopment.

According to a press release, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is the steward of the city's transportation system and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-03 09:51:34Last Update: 2022-10-04 08:02:37

TriMet Invites Feedback on Expansion
TriMet begins online, in-person and virtual public outreach

TriMet would like to expand service by as much as 30% in the coming years, but what that could look like is much different today than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Forward Together” concept helps connect the dots. Early community engagement found broad support for two key goals: focusing on ridership and improving connections to destinations for people with low and limited incomes. The map (below) presents one idea of how these priorities could look, in terms of our service.

According to their website, TriMet says that "COVID-19 changed where people go and how they get there. At TriMet, we recognize that we may need to make big changes as a result. As we come out of the pandemic, we want to make sure that our transit service reflects the current needs of the community. We’re launching a new phase of community engagement around changes to TriMet bus service that we’re thinking about as part of a much bigger transit concept we call Forward Together."

As part of “Forward Together,” TriMet took the most in-depth and comprehensive look at our bus network ever. We’ve now developed a service concept that would be a sweeping re-envisioning of our bus network and would give more people access to our services, to reach more jobs and places.

TriMet conducted an initial survey in spring 2022. Based on feedback from 5,500 riders, stakeholders and community members, we’ve developed a draft concept that would change more than 80% of our bus service. It would also:



On their website, TriMet asks, "What do you think? Are we headed in the right direction? Let us know by weighing in at trimet.org/forward. Responses will be accepted through October 31. Along with the online survey, we’re hosting open houses in person and virtually."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-03 06:17:26Last Update: 2022-10-02 11:26:51

Medford Certified in Fentanyl Detection
K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max completed the certification process

In an effort to combat the rise in fentanyl use and overdoses in our community, the Medford, Oregon Police K-9 team has now partnered with the California Narcotic Canine Association (CNCA) to safely train and certify K-9’s and handling officers in fentanyl detection.

In August, MPD K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max completed the certification process becoming the first two police service dogs in Oregon to be certified by a police K-9 association to detect fentanyl.

“This innovative effort was led by K-9 Officer Havice.

"It’s thanks to his diligent work and extensive research that we were able to connect with CNCA and complete this impactful K-9 training.” said Lieutenant Mark Cromwell.



Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) has seen an extreme increase in powdered fentanyl which poses a significant risk of exposure to Officers and K-9’s. Safety measures are in place for all responders and service dogs which includes having Narcan on hand to deploy if necessary.

K-9 Max has already been deployed and successfully detected fentanyl – which led to the seizure of more than 6 ounces of powdered fentanyl.

The recent certification of K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max will help in efforts to save lives and limit the amount of fentanyl in the community.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-10-02 09:33:47Last Update: 2022-10-03 12:07:14

All Razor Clamming Closed in Oregon
From the Columbia River to the California border

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announce razor clams are closed to all harvesting from the Columbia River to the California border. Recent lab results indicate the marine biotoxin domoic acid has exceeded the closure limit along the entire coastline.

Mussel harvesting is closed from the Columbia River to the north side of the Yachats River for elevated levels of the marine biotoxin paralytic shellfish poison. Mussel harvesting remains open from the south side of the Yachats River to the California border.

Recreational bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit.



Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit. Contact ODFW for recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.

For more information call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA recreational shellfish biotoxin closures webpage.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-10-02 09:18:15Last Update: 2022-10-02 09:32:19

$3.3 Million Dedicated for School Safety
It lacks the prevention that School Resource Officers provided

Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown announced that she has dedicated $3.3 million from federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund for school safety and violence prevention throughout Oregon. The funds were reserved for allocations by governors through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education recently informed the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) that Oregon is eligible for over $8.2 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

“Oregon schools should be safe, welcoming, and inclusive places for every student who walks through their doors,” said Governor Brown. “Every student in Oregon deserves to be safe from gun violence. Every parent should be able to send their child to school knowing they will come home safe. Every teacher and school employee should be able to go to work without fear for their safety or that of the students under their care.”

It was the Governor’s party that passed SB 554 allowing public schools and universities to install gun bans on the premises. Not to mention her support in removing Resource Officers from schools. Both have had negative effects on schools and students. Where Resource Officers were funded providing security, now she is replacing them with $3.3 million in new funds for 19 School Safety and Prevention Specialists positions across all 19 education service districts. “Free” money to start or expand programs means, to make it ongoing, it will require a raise in the school budget and raise in taxes.

Governor Brown says, “With this $3.3 million, school districts can build on their existing violence prevention programs and safety-based crisis intervention systems, as well as their programs to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation, and to promote student mental health and well-being. Combined with incoming funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, school districts will have new resources to keep students safe.”



Combined with Student Success Act dollars and funding from Adi’s Act, the GEER funds will be used to fund new School Safety and Prevention System specialist positions in education service districts serving all 197 school districts across the state. These positions will continue to expand support to bolster the areas of the state in need of additional resources.

When removing Resource Officers had a negative impact, ODE implemented the Safe and Inclusive Schools team in partnership with the current School Safety and Prevention Specialists, to support initiatives to address school culture and climate. These initiatives include: an integrated model of mental health with guidance to support centering mental health, collaboration with OHA on Strengthening Mental Health in Education project, and supporting the implementation of “Every Student Belongs” to address threats to school safety related to biased or discriminatory behavior. A bias incident response guide was designed to center equity and restorative practices in instances of bias-based behaviors.

The19 new School Safety and Prevention Specialists will collaborate with ODE and Oregon Health Authority to also support the statewide implementation of ODE’s suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention efforts, including Section 36 of the Student Success Act and Adi’s Act. These efforts have included implementation of the School Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program through Lines for Life with 5 positions statewide to provide technical assistance and training to districts to improve their suicide prevention efforts through the development of Adi’s Act plans. The SSPSs have also established crisis response teams in ESDs designed to respond to behavioral or mental health crises in schools, and have developed a three-year school suicide prevention research project to identify and develop statewide best practices for policy and implementation framework in partnership with the Alliance to Prevent Suicide.

The SSPSs will work collaboratively across regions, districts, schools, and community organizations to provide the most well-rounded and relevant practices and support available––now with a full-time staff member leading effort at each of the 19 ESDs. This regional-based team of Specialists well be an immediate resource to districts and schools who require real-time crisis intervention. This network of care is heavy on response and care, but lacks the prevention that School Resource Officers provided.

SSPS is intended to be the cornerstones of Oregon’s School Safety and Prevention System, which means look for a cry for more school funds in the next session.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-01 07:25:13

Brown Visits Renewable Energy Sites
“I firmly believe we can move to 100% clean electricity sources”

Governor Kate Brown this week visited wind and solar energy sites that are putting Oregon on track to having 100% clean electricity, reducing carbon emissions, and growing Oregon’s clean energy economy.

"Under my administration, Oregon has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing our carbon emissions and moving Oregon towards 100% clean energy on one of the most ambitious timelines in the nation," said Governor Brown. "I firmly believe we can move to 100% clean electricity sources and create good-paying jobs in rural Oregon at the same time.

"The urgency of getting clean energy projects online could not be clearer. Extreme heat, wildfires, drought, and winter storms -- we are seeing the impacts of climate change in Oregon, with some of the biggest impacts in rural Oregon. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we now have the opportunity to pursue federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to create clean energy jobs throughout the state."

On Tuesday, Governor Brown visited the Golden Hills wind farm and the Montague solar farm operated by Avangrid Renewables. She also visited Sherman County, where she viewed an electric tractor demonstration at the Sherman County Fairgrounds and a solar-powered broadband trailer to extend high-speed internet service in the county.



On Wednesday, Governor Brown joined Portland General Electric and NextEra Energy Resources for the ribbon-cutting of their Wheatridge facility -- the first renewable energy site in the nation to combine wind power, solar power, and battery storage in one facility.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-01 06:40:30Last Update: 2022-09-30 10:51:11

Ninth US Circuit Upholds Homeless Law
Effectively requires the City of Grants Pass to allow all of its parks to be used as homeless encampments

The US Ninth Circuit continued to uphold the restriction on municipal anti-camping ordinances articulated in the landmark Martin v. City of Boise decision by striking down a slate of ordinances in Grants Pass. The case involved challenges to five provisions of the Grants Pass Municipal Code. The provisions can be described as an “anti-sleeping” ordinance, two “anticamping” ordinances, a “park exclusion” ordinance, and a “park exclusion appeals” ordinance.

In September 2018, a three-judge panel issued Martin v. City of Boise, holding “the Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping, or lying outside on public property for homeless individuals who cannot obtain shelter.” The concept created by the court was that it was "cruel and unusual punishment" to impose penalties on persons for camping on city property if they have no other place to go. The formula established in Martin is that the government cannot prosecute homeless people for sleeping in public if there “is a greater number of homeless individuals in [a jurisdiction] than the number of available” shelter spaces.

According to the majority opinion written by Judge Roslyn O. Silver of the Arizona District in Johnson v. Grants Pass, the City's ordinances are invalid.

At least fifty, and perhaps as many as 600, homeless persons live in the City. And the number of homeless persons outnumber the available shelter beds. In other words, homeless persons have nowhere to shelter and sleep in the City other than on the streets or in parks. Nonetheless, City ordinances preclude homeless persons from using a blanket, a pillow, or a cardboard box for protection from the elements while sleeping within the City’s limits. The ordinances result in civil fines up to several hundred dollars per violation and persons found to violate ordinances multiple times can be barred from all City property. And if a homeless person is found on City property after receiving an exclusion order, they are subject to criminal prosecution for trespass.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Daniel P. Collins -- a Trump appointee -- scolded the majority,

In Martin v. City of Boise, we held that “the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment bars a city from prosecuting people criminally for sleeping outside on public property when those people have no home or other shelter to go to.” Even assuming that Martin remains good law, today’s decision—which both misreads and greatly expands Martin’s holding—is egregiously wrong. To make things worse, the majority opinion then combines its gross misreading of Martin with a flagrant disregard of settled class-certification principles. The end result of this amalgamation of error is that the majority validates the core aspects of the district court’s extraordinary injunction in this case, which effectively requires the City of Grants Pass to allow all but one of its public parks to be used as homeless encampments. I respectfully dissent.

In a footnote, Collins also took on the Martin v. City of Boise decision, saying, "The majority’s decision is all the more troubling because, in truth, the foundation on which it is built is deeply flawed: Martin seriously misconstrued the Eighth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s caselaw construing it. But I am bound by Martin, and -- unlike the majority -- I faithfully apply it here."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-30 08:47:06Last Update: 2022-09-30 13:43:07

Opioid Overdoses Increased in 2021
Fentanyl and methamphetamine help fuel rise in deaths and hospitalizations

Methamphetamines and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl helped drive an increase in opioid overdoses and related deaths in 2021, according to a new Oregon Health Authority report. The report, Opioids and the Ongoing Drug Overdose Crisis in Oregon, shows that overdoses involving multiple drugs – known as polysubstance overdoses – also rose during 2021 and now account for more than half of all fatal overdoses. In addition, hospitalizations increased in 2021 following decreases between 2018 and 2020. Charges for drug overdose-related hospitalizations reached $170 million and overdose-related emergency room charges reached $50 million.

"What this report tells us is that, even as prescription opioids were on the decline in Oregon over the last decade, misuse of synthetic and prescription opioids and other drugs continues to take a heavy toll on everyone in our state," said Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H., deputy health officer and deputy state epidemiologist at OHA's Public Health Division, who served as an advisor on the report. "We need to continue our efforts focused on enhanced prevention across the continuum of drug use."

The report also describes those at highest risk for unintentional drug overdose death in 2021, which were non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives, non-Hispanic Blacks, and males. At lowest risk were people of Hispanic ethnicity and non-Hispanic Asians and Pacific Islanders.

"These are populations that have been unfairly affected by systemic racism, socioeconomic and political injustices and bias, which through multiple pathways can worsen health outcomes and increase the risk of experiencing a drug overdose," Jeanne said.

The report noted some trends that presented opportunities for intervention with those at risk of overdoses.



For one, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel administered naloxone, a drug that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, during 5,556 encounters in 2021, which is up from 3,758 encounters in 2019. In most of these cases the patient was transferred to a medical care facility for treatment.

In addition, there were almost 73,000 emergency department visits and more than 17,000 hospitalizations related to substance use disorder or intoxication issues other than an overdose in 2021. Such health care interactions represent opportunities to connect patients to treatment, prescribe naloxone – a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose – and provide other supports to reduce their risk for experiencing future overdoses, the report explains.

Providing comprehensive, non-stigmatizing harm-reduction services for people who use drugs is among a number of response strategies the report points to. Others include education for people who have never used drugs; resilience building and support to strengthen protective factors among those at higher risk for drug use and for developing substance use disorder; ensuring universal access to culturally sensitive treatment; and maintaining strong support for people in recovery, including peer support workers.

"Each non-fatal overdose and medical or behavioral health care visit has the potential to be a touch point with prevention, treatment and recovery services to support recovery and reduce the risk of a future fatal overdose," according to the report.

An overdose is always a medical emergency. Individuals should call 911 before administering naloxone. Oregon's Good Samaritan Law protects the caller and the person who has overdosed against possession and paraphernalia charges.



OHA's Naloxone Rescue for Opioid Overdose webpage contains naloxone frequently asked questions and a map showing Oregon pharmacies that distribute the medicine. In Oregon, naloxone is available without a prescription. Anyone actively using opioids, or other illicit substances, can get naloxone and other harm-reduction materials at no cost through syringe service programs. Syringe service programs are available to anyone who uses drugs, regardless of whether they inject them. Here is OHA's list of syringe and needle exchange services available in Oregon.

OHA has developed the following guidance for people who use drugs:
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-30 06:23:54Last Update: 2022-09-29 14:47:06

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