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Amid addiction crisis, locals prove recovery is possible


DAYTIME HIGHS IN THE MID-60’S TO ABOUT 70 DEGREES. JENNY: THANK YOU, KELLEY. DRUG ADDICTION IS NOW OFFICIALLY A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS IN PORTLAND AND MULTNOMAH COUNTY. KEN: OFFICIALS SAY OREGON EXPERIENCES ABOUT FIVE DRUG OVERDOSE DEATHS A WEEK. UNTREATED ADDICTION COSTS THE STATE NEARLY $6 BILLION A YEAR. PORTLAND CITY COUNCIL AND MULTNOMAH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ARE CALLING ON STATE AND FEDERAL LAWMAKERS TO HELP OUT. ACCORDING TO THE ADVOCACY ORGANZIATION OREGON RECOVERS, OREGON RANKS 50TH IN ACCESS TO ADDICTION TREATMENT. IT’S CRAZY. PEOPLE ARE WAITING TWO TO THREE WEEKS TO GET INTO TREATMENT WHICH IS JUST RIDICULOUS. WE DON’T DO THAT WITH HEART PATIENTS, WE DON’T DO THAT WITH DIABETES PATIENTS. KEN: COMING UP NEXT WEEKEND, ON SEPTEMBER 28 AT 10:00 A.M., IS PORTLAND’S RECOVERY WALK, CALLING ON THE GOVERNOR TO DEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE, STATEWIDE ADDICTION RECOVERY PLAN. THIS IS NATIONAL RECOVERY MONTH, ELISE HAAS SAT DOWN WITH TWO PEOPLE WHO OVERCAME THEIR ADDICTION. JENNY: SHE SHARES THEIR STORY OF SUCCESS AND A CHANCE AT A NEW LIFE. GROWING UP, I HAD A LOT OF FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY, NOT ADDING IN. ELISE: DAVID GREW UP IN AN ABUSIVE HOUSEHOLD, LATER TURING TO DRUGS AND ALCOHOL TO QUIET PAINFUL THOUGHTS. BUT IT BECAME HIS LIFE. IN REALITY, I WAS CHOOSING THAT OVER EVERYTHING ELSE, AND I DIDN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT UNTIL I GOT SOBER. ELISE: AFTER 38 YEARS, A DIVORCE, JAIL, AND LOSS, DAVID ADMITTIED THAT THE WAY HE WAS LIVING WASN’T WORKING. HE ASKED FOR HELP AND GOT INTO ADDICTION TREATMENT. IT’S SCARY TO SORT OF LET DOWN YOUR CRUTCHES AND TRY AND WALK FOR THE FIRST TIME, BUT IT’S DEFINITELY WORTH IT. ELISE: BY BUILDING A NETWORK OF PEOPLE TO SUPPORT HIM IN RECOVERY, AND ESTABLISHING THERAPISTS AND HIS NEW FOUND FAITH, HE DEVELOPED BETTER COPING MECHANSIMS, WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH. I REALIZED IT’S OK TO FEEL LONELY, IT’S OK TO FEEL SAD. SOMETIMES LIFE IS JUST THAT WAY, BUT IT’S ALSO NICE BECAUSE I GET TO FEEL JOY AND HOPE MORE AUTHENTICALLY. NOTHING IS MORE RAW THEN SOMEONE REALIZING THERE AT THAT POINT. ELISE: LIKE MANY, SARAH STARTED DRINKING AS A TEEN, BUT SHE HAD ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH SUBSTANCES. THERE WERE CONSEQUENCES ALONG THE WAY, BUT NONE THAT FORCED HER TO CHANGE. I BRUSHED IT OFF AS BEING YOUNG AND TRYING NEW THINGS AND EXPERIMENTING. ELISE: SARAH HAD A HARD TIME ADMITTING TO HER ALCOHOLISM BEACUSE SHE WAS ABLE TO KEEP UP A FACADE. I STILL HAD THE CAR, THE JOB, AND THE HUSBAND. I HAD JUST LOST EVERYTHING INSIDE OF ME. ELISE: EVEN THOUGH THINGS APPEARED OK ON THE OUTSIDE, SARAH WAS BROKEN WITHIN. SHE, TOO, GOT INTO INPATIENT TREATMENT, AND FOUR YEAR LATER, SHE’S SOBER AND LIVING HAPPY AND HEALTHY. NO LONGER DO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL CONTROL THEIR LIVES. MY LIFE IS WORTH LIVING NOW, AND IT WASN’T WORTH LIVING BEFORE. NOW I GET FREE WILL, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. ELISE: IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH A SUBSTANCE, THESE TWO SAY THEY’RE PROOF THERE’S HOPE FOR YOU, TOO. IN PORTLAND, ELISE HAAS, KOIN 6

Glenn Chapman

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