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DHS news release

Sept. 4, 2007

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

Governor Kulongoski designates September as Recovery Month in Oregon

Recognizing that more than a half-million Oregonians have substance-abuse issues and another 75,000 have gambling addictions, Governor Ted Kulongoski has issued a proclamation designating September as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in Oregon.

"The tens of thousands of Oregonians in long-term recovery from addictions attest to the effectiveness of treatment," said Bob Nikkel, Oregon Department of Human Services assistant director for addictions and mental health. "As the Governor points out, addiction is a chronic brain disease that can be treated as successfully as many physical diseases."

Nikkel said an estimated 410,000 adults and 99,000 adolescents have substance-abuse issues. Oregon ranks fourth nationally in alcohol-related deaths, he said, and the rate of Oregon eighth-graders reporting having consumed alcohol during the prior 30 days is 76 percent higher than the national rate.

The proclamation says 56,432 adults and 7,060 adolescents received substance-abuse treatment in fiscal 2006, and that 2,056 received treatment for problem gambling. The Oregon Legislature appropriated more money in the 2007-2009 budget to prevent and treat addiction.

People who would like to learn more about treatment or want to enroll may do so by:

  • Contacting their county government's alcohol and drug or mental health office, found in the government (blue) pages of the telephone book;
  • Calling the statewide toll-free alcohol and drug helpline at 1-800-923-4357 (HELP) managed by the Oregon Partnership; or
  • Consulting with their family physician or a member of the clergy.

Alcohol and other drug treatment is available without charge to Medicaid-eligible individuals and at reduced rates or no charge for low-income Oregon residents. Oregon Lottery-financed gambling treatment is available free to Oregonians regardless of income.

In his new book "High Society," Joseph Califano reports that the United States, with 4 percent of the world's population, consumes 65 percent of its illegal drugs. "This is further evidence that we must be vigorous in persuading people not to try illegal drugs and, if people are addicted, ensure they receive effective treatment that leads to life-changing recovery," Nikkel said.

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