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Deschutes Co. Considers Declaring Fentanyl Emergency

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners will discuss Wednesday whether to declare a local fentanyl state of emergency. Click HERE to read the draft declaration.

"I want to put pressure on the legislators to actually do something," Chair Patti Adair tells KBND News. She says she came up with the idea after last week’s joint emergency declarations issued by the state, Multnomah County and city of Portland. "Every county should be part of the emergency, [not just] Portland. We had four people die in six days in Deschutes County."

With the tri-government declaration for downtown Portland, state and local agencies are coordinating under an emergency command structure. KBND News asked Commissioner Adair if she’s talked to the Governor about a similar program here. "Oh yes," said Adair, "Well, I texted her. We had a whole conversation going because I was like, ‘Governor? Governor Kotek.’ So, anyway, yes. We’ve had some conversations there." She added, "First, when I said, ‘we had four overdose deaths - we had four deaths in six days,’ she thought I was talking about all those terrible traffic accidents with all of our ice. And I said, ‘no, no, no. These are overdose deaths.’ She went, ‘oh, gosh. Okay.’ So, she knows." 

Adair acknowledges the draft declaration under consideration for Deschutes County won’t carry much legal authority. "It’s a message giving to the lawmakers. That’s what I want to do," she says, "I just feel like if I just sit here and let it go and pretend like everything’s okay - everything is not okay."

She was in Salem Monday, pushing for lawmakers to increase criminal penalties for drug users and dealers. 

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