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"Like A Wrecking Ball": Wyden's Take On Opioid Addiction

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Oregon now ranks fourth in the nation for abuse and misuse of opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   U.S. Senator Ron Wyden was in Eugene today (Tuesday) to attend a Summit on chronic pain management and reducing prescription drug abuse.

“Like a wrecking ball.” That’s how Senator Wyden describes the way opioid addiction has hit Oregon.

Wyden: “During a five month period in 2012, 180-thousand prescriptions were written for opioids. That is a very dramatic challenge.”

Wyden is traveling around the state, talking and listening to those who deal with both sides of the problem. He says there was time when pain was perhaps not treated aggressively enough but now it’s gone the other way—like a prescription pendulum.

The CDC has proposed guidelines on opioid prescribing practices and they have Wyden’s support. Last week, the senator made an inquiry into a special federal committee that deals with pain.

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U.S. Senator Ron Wyden talks about pain and prescription drug abuse at a summit with medical providers, law enforcement and victims of the opioid epidemic.

Wyden: “And my concern is that there may be people on that committee with ties to the opioid manufacturers.”

Wyden says he would not be at all surprised if Congress acts on opioid addiction this session.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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