Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED
DePaul Treatment Cetner Luncheon
September 24, 2015

Thank you, Harry.  Good afternoon.  

I am so pleased to be here today to support the good work of De Paul Treatment Center.  And I’m particularly grateful for this opportunity celebrate the achievements of Dick Withnell, truly a great friend to Oregon, especially to the people and communities of Salem and Keizer where he has provided tremendous leadership for many years.  

Thank you, Dick and your wife Gayle, for all you do to support the well-being of Oregon families. 

We are also here today, at least in part, because we recognize the importance of DePaul Treatment Center’s mission; the value of addictions treatment; and its ability to have a positive impact – not only on the lives of the individuals who receive it, but also on state resources.  

Substance use disorders are complex problems that affect people from all walks of life. Dependence on alcohol or drugs is a chronic, progressive illness, like asthma, hypertension or diabetes.

Addiction contributes directly to other diseases and chronic conditions. Heavy drinking, for example, contributes to illness in each of the top three causes of death: heart disease, cancer and stroke. 

Each year, approximately 1,230 Oregonians die as a result of diseases caused by alcohol and drug use . Hundreds more die from alcohol and drug related accidents and injuries, suicides and overdoses. 

Addiction also complicates chronic illnesses and is strongly correlated with difficulty in treating another disease or illness.

The human and social consequences of untreated substance use disorders are costly to all Oregonians – in public safety, foster care and other state-funded services.
An estimated 75 to 80 percent of adults in Oregon's criminal justice system have substance use disorders . 

Research shows us that every dollar invested in addiction treatment saves five to ten dollars in other publicly supported services. This includes foster care, self-sufficiency services, corrections and health care.   

People who access treatment and recovery services improve their employability, increase their incomes and contribute to Oregon's economy.

Last year, more than 54,000 adults utilized publicly-funded treatment for addiction, with impressive results: According to a recent Oregon Health Authority study, six months after completing treatment, participants’ drug and alcohol use had dropped off sharply, and they reported positive gains in employment and mental health.  

These gains persisted at 12 months post-treatment, with 90 percent reporting abstinence from alcohol use; 72 percent reporting abstinence from drug use; and a 30 percent increase in successfully obtaining employment.

I want to tell you the story of Erin Devet.  In 2006, she arrived at De Paul’s adult residential treatment center.  Everything she owned fit in her backpack.  Her addiction had cost her everything:  her children, her family, her trust in people.  

Erin learned a lot about herself in the program and applied what she learned and graduated from the program at De Paul.  After celebrating two years clean, she came back to De Paul, this time with so much more than her backpack.  She applied for an entry-level position and started working at De Paul in 2008.  

Erin is now the Director of Youth and Family Services.  She now has a different life – a much better one, making a difference in the lives of the youth that De Paul serves.
Erin is proof that treatment works.  

Funding for treatment in Oregon is critical because Oregonians who need treatment for alcohol or drug abuse aren’t always able to get it. Making it accessible is critical, and community-based organizations such as De Paul Treatment Centers are essential partners with the state in this effort.  

Your support of De Paul Treatment Centers is important to helping our state make high-quality treatment available. I appreciate your recognition of the immediate and long-term value of this investment in the lives of our citizens and our communities.

Thank you.