Oregon's strategy to confront prescription opioid misuse: A case study

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Governor John Kitzhaber appointed a Prescription Drug Taskforce to address Oregon's opioid epidemic. This case study reviews the Taskforce's participation in the National Governors Association State Policy Academy on Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse. To address the challenge of the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids, the Taskforce developed a strategy for practice change, community education and enhanced access to safe opioid disposal using stakeholder meetings, consensus development, and five action steps: (1) fewer pills in circulation, (2) educate prescribers and the public on the risks of opioid use, (3) foster safe disposal of unused medication, (4) provide treatment for opioid dependence, and (5) continued leadership from the Governor, health plans and health professionals. Although the story is ongoing, there are lessons for leadership in other states and for public health and medical practitioners throughout the country.




McCarty, D., Bovett, R., Burns, T., Cushing, J., Glynn, M. E., Kruse, S. J., … Shames, J. (2015). Oregon’s strategy to confront prescription opioid misuse: A case study. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 48(1), 91–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2014.07.012

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