(RepublicanJournal.org) – Gov. Tina Kotek (D) recently signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Oregon. The move was in response to an explosion of fentanyl abuse at Portland City Center. She insisted that a coordinated effort using all available resources was vital to tackling the problem, ordering agencies to use the next 90 days to find a solution. Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler both supported the move with their own declarations.
Their joint actions, declaring the emergency on three levels, will allow a better-coordinated effort between their agencies. The State of Oregon newsroom issued a press release detailing the decision on January 30, the same day Kotek signed her order. The state and local leaders decided on the move following the Portland Central City Task Force’s recommendation to do so during the 2023 Oregon Business Leadership Summit.
Several agencies, including the Office of Resilience and Emergency Management, the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Department of Emergency Management, and the Oregon State Police, are working together to offer resources. In coordination with the Health Department, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and other agencies, they hope to encourage fentanyl prevention, improve recovery outcomes, and tackle the stigma that often comes with treatment.
They’ll also prioritize outreach and support for addicts, focusing on behavioral strategies to encourage recovery. Officials want to target the people putting these deadly drugs on the streets, as well, and they’re working to ensure offenders are held accountable for the devastation they cause.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that more than 150 people die in the US every day due to overdoses of fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids. The US Drug Enforcement Administration adds that it confiscated the equivalent of over 388.8 million lethal doses of fentanyl in 2023. Lab tests determined that 7 in every 10 pills its agents seized contained deadly amounts of the potent narcotic.
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