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DHS news release

September 21, 2004

Contact: Nadine Jelsing (503) 945-5950
Program Contact: Karen Wheeler (503) 945-6191


Addiction recovery forum will address treatment and recovery issues in Oregon; approaches to reducing crime and recidivism

Note to editor: Forum agenda is attached.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Governor's Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs are sponsoring a first-ever Addiction Recovery Forum Friday, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Hearing Room 50 at the State Capitol.

Participants will include legislators, agency leaders, advocates and people in recovery.

The event is designed to address key alcohol and drug addiction issues affecting Oregon communities. According to the latest federal survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • Oregon ranks in the top 10 nationally for illicit drug use among people 12 years and older.
  • Oregon ranks fourth in the nation in illicit drug use in adults 26+ and drug abuse and dependence among 18 - to 25-year olds.
  • Oregon ranks 45th in the nation in access to treatment and 49th among 18 - to 25 year-olds.
"These statistics are a real wake-up call to Oregon," says Bob Nikkel, administrator of the DHS Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS). "Treatment for alcohol and drug addiction works and recovery is possible, but too many people aren't getting the services they need. We need to identify and overcome barriers to treatment, and improve and increase community-based recovery services so people can recover and lead healthy and productive lives."

The objectives of the forum include increasing awareness about the effectiveness of treatment and new recovery approaches, reducing the stigma of addiction and strategically addressing how Oregon can better help people find life-long recovery.

"Long term drug use can cause changes in the brain that persist long after someone stops using drugs — making it very difficult to quit and stay in recovery," says Sharron Kelley, chair of the Governor's Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs. "We need to address what treatment and recovery services are lacking in the community, identify resources and begin building a more effective delivery system.

"Supporting and helping just one person achieve recovery from an alcohol or drug use disorder can affect and improve entire families and communities."

September marks the 15th annual National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month celebrating the successes of people in recovery and highlighting the growing recovery movement nationwide. This year's theme, Join the Voices for Recovery, NOW! encourages communities to take immediate action to improve local access to recovery services.

"The bottom line is that recovery is good for the economy," says Karen Wheeler, alcohol and drug policy manager at OMHAS. "If you look at the huge impact drug and alcohol abuse has on Oregon's criminal justice system, the child welfare system, and family and social services agencies, supporting people in recovery and providing on-going recovery services in the community represents a huge cost savings to society and to the taxpayers."

See more information about National Recovery Month.

Addiction Recovery Forum
Friday, September 24, 9:00 to 11:30 a.m.
State Capitol, Salem, Hearing Room 50


Moderated by Bill Deiz, Communications Director, Oregon Partnership

9:00 - 9:10
Opening remarks

Erinn Kelley-Siel, Governor's Health and Human Services Senior Policy Advisor
Sharron Kelley, Chairperson, Governor's Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs

9:10 - 9:30
Policy/legislative viewpoint

Representative Vicki Berger
Lane County Commissioner Bobby Green
Senator Floyd Prozanski (tentative)
Representative Steve March (tentative)

9:30 - 10:00
Treatment and recovery

Bob Nikkel, MSW, Administrator, OMHAS
Karen Wheeler, A&D Policy Manager, OMHAS
John Spence, Ph.D., Native American Tribal Consultant

10:00 - 10:20
Recovery: A lifelong process

Brian Miles, Celebrate Recovery Ministry Leader
Recovery Association Project - Recovery Advocate
Alan Levine, Governor's Council member and RAP member

10:20 - 10:40
Approaches to reduce crime and recidivism

Max Williams, Director, Department of Corrections and former state representative
Judge Darryl Larson, Lane County Circuit Court

10:40 - 11:00

11:00 - 11:10
Wrap-up/Summary of proceedings

11:10 - 11:30
Networking with Governor's Council members