Tri-County Opioid Safety Coalition

The Tri-County Region, encompassing Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, is the largest metropolitan hub in Oregon and is home to almost 1.8 million people, or 44% of Oregon’s population. First convened in 2016, the Tri-County Opioid Safety Coalition coordinates regional efforts to decrease opioid misuse and associated harms. Members include stakeholders from public health, medical systems, behavioral health, insurance, public safety, and patient communities. The Coalition prioritizes its work around three goals:

  • Decrease harms and overdose deaths from opioids.
  • Improve the quality of life for people with chronic pain.
  • Improve the quality of life for people with opioid use disorder.

The Coalition understands that the opioid crisis is multifaceted and needs a comprehensive response that includes strategies to promote pain care, increase access to substance use treatment, employ harm reduction methods, support safer prescribing, and increase clinician and public awareness. To reach its goals, the group has identified eight strategies:

1. Pain care. Increase access to best-practice (and biopsychosocially informed) non-pharmacological care for pain through expanding treatment availability and payment for services.

2. Public awareness. Support statewide and regional public education efforts on the biopsychosocial pain model, risks of opioid use, non-pharmacological pain treatment, naloxone, medication disposal and storage, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder.

3. Treatment for opioid use disorder. Improve access to services by identifying those in need and providing timely services including MAT and social support.

4. Clinician and patient education. Support statewide and regional clinician education efforts on safer opioid prescribing, the  biopsychosocial pain model, risks of opioid use, efficacy of non-pharmacological pain treatment, naloxone, medication disposal and storage for patients, and medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder.

5. Safer prescribing. Support statewide efforts to promote and implement safe-prescribing practices.

6. Monitoring impact. Work across systems to identify data to monitor short-term and long-term trends of opioid-related deaths, overdose, and overdose reversals; opioid prescribing and use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Database (PDMP); medication disposal and storage efforts; clinician/provider and public education efforts; MAT utilization; and pain care utilization.

7. Naloxone. Expand naloxone availability to those at risk of overdose and those likely to witness an overdose.

8. Safe disposal and storage. Increase access to medication disposal programs at pharmacies and promote the use of these programs through public and clinician/patient education.

For more information, contact:

Paul Lewis, MD, MPH
Health Officer Multnomah County, Oregon
Tri-County Health Officer, Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington Counties
paul.f.lewis@multco.us (regularly monitored, preferred for most issues)
503-309-3482 (mobile phone for time sensitive issues, texting best during business hours)