REMARKS AS PREPARED
HB3440 Ceremonial Bill Signing
September 19, 2017
Thank you Dwight. I’d like to thank everyone for joining us.
I am proud to be here today to sign House Bill 3440. This bill is critically important to support Oregonians in their most vulnerable moments. It also provides essential tools to battle the opioid epidemic.
I’d like to thank my colleagues in the Legislature for their leadership:
• Senator Steiner Hayward
• Representative Williamson
• Representative Malstrom
With this bill, Oregonians have better access to lifesaving overdose medication. Now, insurance companies can no longer delay access to the treatment of those suffering need in times of crisis.
This bill also allows Oregonians to begin the journey to recovery with better access to Drug Courts. We know that these meaningful interventions — not incarceration — will help lead to sustainable, positive futures.
While it’s important to take a moment to celebrate this significant step, we must continue forward.
Across Oregon, the opioid crisis is tearing families apart. It is ravaging our urban and rural communities, and prevents Oregonians from leading productive lives and achieving their full potential.
It will take the efforts of all branches of government, state agencies, advocates and families to prevent Oregonians from becoming future victims to opioid misuse.
That is why I assembled a task force on opioid abuse and dependency. I have appointed 15 committed Oregonians. They are legislators, medical experts and drug treatment specialists who will convene for the first time today.
I have charged the task force with identifying and recommending efforts that will break down barriers to treatment and improve public health across our state.
We must use every tool at our disposal to help heal the individuals and communities impacted by opioid abuse. We cannot forget the parents, friends, and neighbors suffering these devastating effects.
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to three very special moms who are here with us today. Kerry, Jackie and Julia experienced the unimaginable when they lost their sons to the opioid epidemic. Their courage and perseverance are an inspiration to us all. We will hold your sons’ memories in our hearts. Thank you for being here.
This is not a challenge that we can take on alone. Each and every one of us in this room can play a role in stopping this crisis. Together, I know we can create better outcomes and brighter futures for Oregonians in every corner of the state. Thank you.