Gov. Brown shares Ashland man’s story with U.S. Senate Health Committee

Washington, D.C.–Governor Kate Brown testified Thursday in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to share her perspective on the national opioid crisis.

Her testimony included the story of Max Pinsky, an Ashland man who died of overdose in 2013.

Gov. Brown said Pinksy’s death may have been avoided if the state was better equipped to handle opioid addiction.

“I believe very strongly if he had access to treatment, if first responders had access to the life saving overdose medication, he might still be alive today. We can provide that medication if we get the assistance and support from the federal government to make it happen,” Gov. Brown said.

The governor touted Oregon’s efforts to tackle the epidemic in the state, including the recently signed bill to make overdose-reversal drug Naloxone more accessible to first responders.

However, Gov. Brown said the medicine is very expensive and she believes the Federal Government should be footing the bill.

“It would be incredibly helpful if the Federal government were to either provide resources for us to buy more Naloxone, or frankly for the federal government to buy it and provide it to the states so that all of our first responders had it,” Gov. Brown said.

Gov. Brown told the committee that Oregon is mostly focused on education and prevention when it comes to addressing the opioid problem. She said federal funding for those types of programs and resources would also be “extremely useful.”

Additionally, the governor told federal health officials they need a less punitive approach to addiction in order to make real progress.

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