Vote Yes on Measure 110 to expand addiction treatment

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 20-plus years of helping people with drug addiction, it’s that when someone is ready for treatment, it’s so important they can access it right then, on-demand, the moment they decide they’re ready for help. Unfortunately in Oregon, too often there isn’t treatment available. They are put on a wait list for weeks, or even months. Sometimes people die while waiting for that treatment spot to open.

As a drug and alcohol counselor, it’s hard for me to tell someone in crisis that they have to wait for a spot. They’re already hanging on by a thread, and it’s heart-wrenching when I have little to nothing to offer them.

This isn’t something unique to my experience working in Eastern Oregon; it’s a common scenario for any drug counselor in Oregon. One in 10 Oregonians is addicted to drugs, yet our state ranks nearly last in access to basic drug treatment. It’s hard to not see the connection between the lack of available care, and the fact that one to two Oregonians dies every day from drug overdoses.

This November, we have a chance to address this crisis and save lives by voting Yes on Measure 110.

Measure 110 will greatly expand access to drug treatment and recovery services throughout the state, using funds from Oregon’s existing marijuana tax. Measure 110 will make treatment available on-demand so that when someone reaches out for help, the hand of recovery will be reaching back. As part of this shift to a health-based approach to addiction, Measure 110 will also remove criminal penalties for low-level drug possession. That means, should Measure 110 become law, when someone needs help for their addiction, they’ll be offered treatment instead of being sent to jail for possession of a small amount of drugs.

If Oregon’s current punishment-first system worked, Oregon would not be in the midst of an addiction crisis. Treatment — not punishment — is what people need to get well, and Measure 110 makes that possible. I should know.

Thanks to the miracle of recovery, my life looks a lot different than it did decades ago. My husband and I used drugs together for nearly a decade. At one point DHS stepped in and removed our children from the home. Thankfully, I was able to get into treatment, which saved my life. My husband and I have been clean now for 25 years. After getting into recovery, I began working in the professional treatment and recovery field, first in a day care center located in the same treatment facility where I got help, and eventually I became a certified drug counselor. I have my family back. My grandchildren have never seen “the old us,” and recovery is a cornerstone of my life.

I have experienced the living hell of addiction, and I know that treatment is instrumental in helping people recover. As a drug counselor, I work to share my experience, strength and hope, and connect people with the services they need to get well. We’re blessed in Baker County to have treatment options, but they’re still not enough. We’re understaffed, and can’t help everyone who comes to us for support. I’m passionate about Measure 110 because I know that it will save lives, and make vital, life-saving services more available to more people in our community.

It’s time for a more humane, effective approach to drug addiction. I want others who struggle with addiction to receive the gift of recovery that I have been so blessed to experience every day, one day at a time. Vote Yes on Measure 110.

Heidi Hug of Baker City is a certified alcohol and drug counselor II, a certified recovery mentor and a qualified mental health associate I.

President contracts COVID-19? How shocking

I am so, so surprised at our prez contracting the virus! I mean wow! Just look at the way he was so concerned for all of our health and on top of the whole situation! Well sometimes life just isn’t fair ... On a different note I am reading, and getting a huge disgruntled vibe, about our schools not opening up classrooms soon enough for some “face to face” time with the kids? I find this a bit disconcerting. Please excuse my “retired” opinion but I sense some selfishness in this way of thinking. I believe that as a society we have become so used to the “school year” that a disruption in “someone else” watching our children has become unacceptable in many parents mind. I understand jobs ... but whose kids are they? The tech and resources to teach a child at home seems to have been in place for decades. Situations certainly vary, depending on geography and circumstances, but they are “your” children, seems like protecting them, our teachers and our citizens is way more important than prematurely opening things up, just as cases of COVID-19 skyrocket throughout the U.S.

Lastly I want to tell everyone how incredible the “Haunted Studio Tour” is at Churchill! They have put together a scary, family friendly experience that will dazzle, frighten and blow your mind! Suffice it to say “An unprecedented presentation and a true work of art!!”

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Is the public getting real story about the president?

A couple of things come to mind tonight regarding the news. First and foremost is that the president was rushed to the hospital after spending 2-3 nights in the White House under medical care. He has access to medical treatment that the public does not have. The attending doctor is a medical man but is a Navy man also. He is under the direction of his Commander in Chief, the president, so we will only be hearing what President Trump wants us to hear. This virus is a killer so I find it difficult to believe the president is improved after only 2-3 days of medical treatment. What do YOU think?

Iva Mace

Baker City

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