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

Feb 16, 2016

Credit Getty Images

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.

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.
Credit Tiffany Eckert

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.