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Bonamici says more funding needed to fight opioid epidemic

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, center, listens to panelists during a roundtable discussion in Portland, Oregon on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 about working to solve the opioid epidemic. (KATU Photo)

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici met with top law enforcement and community members Friday to discuss solutions in combating the opioid epidemic.

Bonamici said the crisis is not an urban issue or a rural issue or suburban issue. It is a problem everywhere.

She also said she didn’t realize how serious the problem is in schools and among young people.

On Friday, the roundtable attendees, which included Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese and District Attorney Rod Underhill, worked to identify where some of the barriers are to both preventing drug use and keeping people out of the criminal justice system and getting them the treatment they need.

One of the big barriers is funding.

"However, what the president did was declare it the type of emergency that doesn't have additional funding with it, and of course the president has announced there’s going to be a 'Just Say No’ education campaign. That's not what we need, we need evidence-based treatment programs and the funding to pay for it," Bonamici said.

She said she will continue to fight for the coverage from the Affordable Care Act that helps people keep access to health care and recovery programs in some cases.

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