What can be done to curb Oregon’s opioid epidemic? KATU town hall searches for answers

By Regence
October 18, 2019

“If I asked everyone in this room, ‘Who knows someone who’s suffered from substance abuse?’ I bet every single hand would go up,” said Dr. Jim Polo, Regence’s executive medical director to a Portland audience of about 150 people.

The event, a town hall discussion hosted by KATU-TV called ‘Recover Northwest - Curbing Oregon's Opioid Crisis,’ brought together medical professionals, journalists, students, law enforcement, and other community members for a conversation about strategies and solutions to address the statewide crisis. The event took place at Portland State University.

Oregonians misuse prescription opioids at one of the highest rates in the country, according to the Oregon Health Authority; five people per week die of an overdose, including from fentanyl and heroin.

The panel of experts included Dr. Polo, as well as Judge Eric Bloch, a member of Governor Kate Brown’s opioid task force; Morgan Godvin, a OHSU-PSU School of Public Health student who is currently in treatment heroin addiction; and Dr. Amanda Risser, senior medical director of substance use disorder services at Central City Concern.

KATU will broadcast the town hall on Sunday, October 20 at 8:30am PT, or you can view the discussion in its entirety below:

Regence is proud to support KATU’s Recover Northwest campaign, which raises awareness of the opioid epidemic in Oregon and supports solutions that address it. Read about how we’re pushing back on this national health crisis through our prescribing practices and policies, community partner relationships and support of our members.