In Oregon, 290 million opioid pills are prescribed yearly which equates to 70 pills for every man, woman and child every 12 months living in Douglas County.

The number of prescriptions filled is consistently higher in Douglas County than the statewide average (Oregon Health Authority, 2016). Clearly there is a need to come up with a goal to develop an action plan that will promote safe pain therapy and also give the utmost quality of life to the patient suffering from chronic pain.

The Oregon Coalition for the Responsible Use of Meds and Oregon Health Authority are working in partnership to tackle the opioid crisis through community and prescriber education. I recently had the honor of presenting the opening remarks at the Douglas County Pain Summit held at Umpqua Community College. There is a real need to educate ourselves, our family members and our friends to find safe alternative options when dealing with chronic pain. We have to find the means to shift away from dependence on opioids if we want to improve our community.

Reliance upon opioids in one person can have a ripple effect that has far reaching consequences. The saying goes, “no one has ever said they wanted to be a drug addict when they grow up.” So how do we intervene? How do we stop the problem before it spills over into the community and becomes a drain on county services? Through access with local services, the goal of the summit is to identify the challenges in Douglas County and develop an action plan that will promote a measurable reduction in opioid abuse, misuse and overdose in the county.

Another program that is gaining popularity as part of a solution to the problem is better disposal of disused pills. Disused pills in family medicine cabinets create a significant risk for abuse and dependence. You can bring your unused pills to several locations throughout Douglas County for disposal: Gordon Pharmacy in Canyonville, Myrtle Creek, Winston, Sutherlin and Reedsport City Hall, and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office lobby.

A goal to have pill disposal sites located at all Douglas County pharmacies is gaining momentum.

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

Tim Freeman is a Douglas County Commissioner.

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(6) comments


Even the Feds are loath to admit it now Mr Freeman. When will you admit you made an enormous mistake.



Oregon State Legislature is currently considering some bills to combat the opioid abuse problem. I’m surprised Mr. Freeman didn’t weigh in on them

With some exceptions, House Bill 2114 and Senate Bill 270 would require physicians to prescribe only seven days of opiates to new patients. Further, doctors would be required to keep a new set of records for prescriptions for more than seven days. It would be a felony to not comply. I’m not sure this is the way to get the problem under control. Why create more highly restrictive laws that limit doctors’ abilities to professionally treat patients for injury, disease and pain?

I do support HB 2114-A that directs Oregon Medical Board, Oregon State Board of Nursing and Oregon Board of Dentistry to provide licensees of boards with opioid and opiate prescribing guidelines and recommendations established by Association of Licensee Practitioners.

As Douglas County develops its own “action plan,” I’d suggest that the team consult representatives of Oregon Medical Association, Oregon chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Medical Assn.

American Medical Association recommends making addiction treatment more readily available. Education and use of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program are also recommended.

Read more (or tune into a committee hearing or work session) about the bills currently being considered in the Oregon State Legislature at this link:


Another example of your insincerity is the statement - 'How do we stop the problem before it spills over into the community and becomes a drain on county services'. Not a whole lot of concern there Tim for the people of the county, just for the money it will cost the County.


Ironic considering you and Boice pushed for the ban on marijuana cultivation across Douglas County after I and many others witnessed you hearing testimony from addicts who supported the statistics that marijuana has helped them off opiates and reduced opioid deaths by 20% in places that have legalized marijuana. Sadly Mr Freeman you are a hypocrite, your words ring hollow and have a large degree of insincerity around them. Do the words ‘Tone Deaf’ mean anything to you? Now instead of a proven method of opiate reduction all you have to offer is a pill disposal system? Pathetic.


Excellent comment mysteron! Thank you for sharing those facts.


"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." To those without those pieces of gold and silver would buy a lot of health care.

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