Opioid conference looks to tackle statewide crisis

MEDFORD, Ore. – County health leaders across the state are coming together to tackle the opioid crisis.

“Lines for Life” is hosting Oregon’s first ever state-wide workshop on opioids, pain and addiction treatment Thursday to Saturday.

The event is meant to start a conversation on improving pain management and providing better access to addiction treatments.

“If you are on opioids for just 30 days, there is a 47 percent likelihood that you will still be on those opioids for three years,” Dwight Holton, CEO of Lines for Life, said. “If you are on opioids for a 90-day course there is a 60 percent chance that you will still be on those opioids for five years.”

Holton said while opioid prescribing is down nearly 25 percent in last year to year-and-a-half, there’s still more work that needs to be done.

“The crisis is going to get worse before it gets better, especially with fentanyl hitting. It’s an incredibly potent form of opioid that is coming in from the East Coast. We have a lot of work to do,” he explained.

More than 450 people across the state have registered to take part in the seminar.

NBC5 News and several health organizations partnered to create “Stay Safe Oregon” to address the opioid epidemic. The conference works in part with those efforts.

For more information visit staysafeoregon.com.

NBC5 News reporter Karen Tang graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in communications and a master’s in journalism.

Before coming to Medford, Karen was an intern at WUSA9 and NBC News Channel in Washington D.C.

During her time in Maryland, Karen was an NCAA Division I student-athlete on the Maryland gymnastics team. She competed against Big Ten universities and made the Big Ten All-Championship team.

When Karen isn’t reporting, she’s at the gym working out, taking pictures with her dog Boomer and searching for the best food in Southern Oregon.

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