PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sharon Meieran is a Multnomah County Commissioner and an emergency doctor, which gives her an inside look at both the policy and medical sides of the opioid epidemic.
“I’ve seen people come in by ambulance dead after an opioid overdose,” Meieran said at a city council meeting 3 months ago.
That’s why, Meieran told KOIN 6 News, while President Donald Trump’s declaration of a public opioid emergency raises awareness of the issue, it also falls short by not immediately allocating federal funds to battle the problem.
“We need resources for treatment,” Meieran said. “We need resources for prevention (and) harm reduction, but we need to ensure that there’s treatment and we’re hundred of millions of dollars short of having that.”
Meieran led Multnomah County’s vote to approve a $250 million lawsuit aimed at forcing opioid makers to help foot the bill to clean up the drug problem. She said she expects that response in the next few weeks.
Yesterday, in Arizona, the FBI arrested the found of a drug company, accusing him of scheming to bribe doctors to prescribe fentanyl-based painkillers. Meieran worries about how the synthetic drug, that’s spiking in use both locally and nationally, can be 50 times more potent than heroin.
“They’re more potent than any of the other opioids we’ve ever seen,” Meieran said, “and they’re quite lethal.”