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DHS news release

April 2, 2007


Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738

Program contact: Karen Wheeler 503-945-6191


Governor promotes public awareness of need for alcohol prevention, treatment


The estimated number of Oregon adolescents who have a serious problem with alcohol is equal to the combined number of high school students in Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford, Pendleton, La Grande and Coos Bay.


Governor Ted Kulongoski cites the number, 37,700, in his new proclamation designating April as Alcohol Awareness Month in Oregon.


“Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by high school students in Oregon,” the Governor says in the proclamation, which also cites alcohol as the leading cause of death among youths, adding that alcohol “contributes substantially to adolescent motor vehicle crashes, other traumatic injuries, suicide, date rape and family and school problems.”


It is estimated that approximately 215,000 Oregon adults either abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent.


The proclamation notes that in 2006 nearly 32 percent of Oregon eighth-graders and almost 44 percent of 11th-graders reported consuming alcohol during the 30 days prior to completing the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey questionnaire. “Young people in Oregon who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21,” according to the Governor’s proclamation.


Kulongoski has recommended beginning to restore prevention and treatment cuts that occurred four years ago to help balance the 2003-05 state budget. Proposals include expanding community coalitions, implementing a family-focused prevention program, delivering treatment to more than 2,600 low-income parents, developing at least 14 more drug-free Oxford Houses and increasing state funding for drug treatment courts.


Of those Oregonians needing publicly financed treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse, nearly 69 percent of adults and 35.6 percent of youth receive it. During fiscal 2006, 55,432 adults and 7,060 adolescents received treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse.


Oregonians who would like to seek treatment may obtain more information by calling the state-supported Oregon Partnership alcohol and drug helpline 1-800-923-HELP (4357) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-877-515-7848.


The Oregon Department of Human Services is the state agency responsible for alcohol and other drug prevention and treatment as part of its mission to help Oregonians be independent, healthy and safe.