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DHS news release

July 24, 2006

Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738
Program contact: Karen Wheeler 503-945-6191

Federal team to assess Oregon's alcohol, drug prevention efforts

A team representing the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention will be in Oregon beginning Tuesday to review the effectiveness of the state's efforts to prevent abuse and illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

The three-day review, the first since March 2004, will grade the effectiveness of Oregon's programs, approximately 80 percent of which are financed with federal dollars.

"Preventing addiction in every age group is key to giving Oregonians better lives, healthier newborns and lower medical costs," said Bob Nikkel, mental health and addiction administrator in the Oregon Department of Human Services. "During this federal review we will look at Oregon's entire addiction prevention system, learn how other states' experiences might help us and be reminded where Oregon is a leader."

Nikkel said he expects federal officials to recognize Oregon is getting successful outcomes from its investments despite the state's modest financial commitment to prevention. The federal government provides approximately $5.5 million a year on prevention in Oregon while the state General Fund budget accounts for $1.4 million, he said.

Nikkel said he is confident Oregon can impress federal auditors with the effectiveness of its prevention work with efforts such as:

  • Initiatives to reduce the state's above-average rates of underage drinking, which will include a new advertising campaign targeting parents starting later this summer;
  • An inspection program that for the past decade has exceeded federal standards for reducing tobacco sales to minors in nine of the 10 years;
  • An ambitious effort to triple the number of drug-free worksites by the end of 2008;
  • Support of community coalitions that deliver parent training, youth mentoring, and seek to strengthen community laws and norms against addictive practices;
  • Work with the state's nine federally recognized tribes, including an initiative to eliminate substance abuse in housing authority units at Warm Springs that will earn a national award next month; and
  • Oregon's leadership in requiring agencies to invest increasing shares of dollars in evidence-based prevention practices.

Among agency and organization representatives meeting this week with federal officials, besides DHS, are the Oregon State Police, Commission on Children and Families, Oregon Department of Education, state Criminal Justice Commission, Governor's Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, DHS's nonprofit contractors Oregon Partnership and Workdrugfree, and members of local alcohol- and drug-prevention coalitions from Lane and Jackson counties.

Oregon uses a federally recommended "strategic prevention framework" that guides states in prevention planning supported by data-backed analysis of the issues, community mobilization, effective implementation and evaluation of results.