MEDFORD, Ore. -- The Jackson County Board of Commissioners declared addiction a public health crisis Wednesday morning, making the county the first in Oregon to do so. Governor Kate Brown did the same for the whole state back in March of 2018.
According to the organization Oregon Recovers, Oregon ranks 50th in the nation in providing access to addiction treatment. Five Oregonians die every day from alcohol related causes. One to two die every day from overdoses. The Jackson County Commissioners said Oregon Recovers helped them understand what addiction is and get them to make this proclamation.
Kelly Rene is an advocate with Oregon recovers. She's been in recovery herself for almost two years.
"We do recover. This is a lifetime, incurable disease but it is treatable and it requires continuum care," Rene said. "There are individuals out there who are struggling with addiction but they are too ashamed to come forward and ask for help. That's why we are trying to erradicate the stigma associated with addiction."
County Commissioner Bob Strosser said this proclamation calls on state and federal governments to provide more funding to help those recover from addiction.
"The goal is to reduce the addiction rates, the overdose rates, and the loss of people who might otherwise be contributing members of our community," Strosser added.
Jackson County's proclamation is among the first in a wave of declarations across the state during National Recovery Month. The Medford City Council is expected to give a similar proclamation Thursday evening.
Oregon Recovers is hosting A Walk for Recovery in Medford on Friday, September 13th at 6PM.