Bend Bulletin: Outreach efforts will play a central role in expanded addiction treatment programs


BestCare Community Engagement Team Care Manager Barrett Hamilton, right, works with Wiley Dave during outreach on Hunnell Road in Bend in early November. Photo by Dean Guernsey/The Bulletin

Journalist Zack Demars of The Bend Bulletin continues his series on how Measure 110 dollars are unfolding in Central Oregon with this latest piece on outreach workers.

In speaking with BestCare, an addiction treatment organization that offers residential and outpatient services throughout Central and Eastern Oregon, Demars learned that BestCare outreach worker, Barrett Hamilton, is “leading one of BestCare’s biggest Measure 110 endeavors: A new Bend ‘engagement center,’ where people with addiction can get assistance with whatever they need to stay safe, from basic needs to employment assistance, to rapid access to BestCare’s outpatient addiction treatment services right across the hall…Prior to the Measure 110 expansion, Hamilton offered similar services out of a van in Redmond.”

The concept of an “engagement team” is not new to BestCare; they have operated an engagement team in St. Charles hospitals’ emergency floors for more than two years. Demars reports: “The premise of that work is fairly simple: Hospital social workers call the BestCare team whenever someone comes into the emergency room with a drug- or alcohol-related issue. An engagement team staff member meets the individual at their bedside and walks through what the person might need.”

When asked about Measure 110’s treatment-over-punishment, healthcare-focused response to the addiction crisis, BestCare’s CEO noted that M110 is enabling Oregon to “set up a system of engagement and outreach and harm reduction to that population with the hopes of decreasing the damage of drugs and alcohol and hopefully engaging a certain percentage of those people into recovery-based services.” Thanks to Measure 110, hope is here!

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