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SALEM, Oregon (KPTV) — Families impacted by the addiction crisis in Oregon are asking for help from state legislators.
Cathy McInnis is one of those mothers fighting for more resources in the state. She lost her daughter to alcohol addiction on March 1, 2020.
“She was in detox, and she passed away,” McInnis said.
Katie Buckle, 28, died after years of struggling with alcohol addiction.
“There was trauma in her life, and also Katie suffered from depression and anxiety,” McInnis said. “She felt very depressed and lonely from situations that had happened to her. The addiction over time got worse.”
McInnis said her daughter’s relapses became more frequent and there was an urgent need to get her into treatment.
“Making phone calls (I heard), ‘We don’t have any room. We don’t have any place,'” McInnis said. “There was no help.”
She said she couldn’t find any resources in Oregon to help her daughter. California was the next best option.
“We were able to get into a facility right away,” McInnis said. “You could make a phone call; they have a bed. There’s a room for her immediately.”
But the situation was so dire for Buckle, she died during detox.
“She was there 48 hours,” McInnis said.
In her grief, McInnis is now pushing for more addiction and mental health resources in Oregon.
“It’s hard as a mom, your child is not supposed to go before you,” she said. “I will continue this fight for (Buckle), but more importantly also fight for the other people that live in our state. Where are our beds? Where’s our help? Where’s the money to help support this?”
FOX 12 reached out to Governor Kate Brown’s office on what the state is doing to address this problem.
The governor briefly talked about the issue in her State of the State address on Thursday.
“Expanding access to behavioral health services and substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery is critical,” Brown said. “I will continue to partner with the legislature to finalize significant investments in behavioral health this year.”
On Friday, Brown’s office said during the 2021 legislative session, the governor worked with the legislature to pass $350 million in investments toward behavioral health and system reforms. A spokesperson said her office met with Oregon Recovers, the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission and key stakeholders to work on solutions.
A spokesperson said the state has already handed out $31 million in new funding to treatment programs.
Brown’s office said later this month, the Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council will award up to an additional $302 million to behavioral health resource networks.
A spokesperson said the governor recognizes the crisis workforce in a number of healthcare fields that deal with addiction treatment. Her office said the governor directed state agencies to develop retention bonuses, which were distributed in November.
During the 2022 legislative session, there are two bills aimed at addressing the addiction crisis.
HB 4004 would require the Oregon Health Authority to distribute grants to behavioral health treatment providers for staff compensation as well as workforce retention and recruitment. HB 4085 would give a parent or guardian the ability to admit a child with or without that child’s consent to an inpatient treatment facility or program licensed through OHA or the Oregon Department of Human Services.
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