ODOT Launches Distractred Driver APP
The Oregon Department of Transportation is launching a new campaign to help curb incidents of distracted driving. According to ODOT 69% of passengers say they are uncomfortable driving with someone who is texting and 72 % of drivers admit to driving distracted themselves. The new campaign, called Healthy Driving, brings groups together to compete in ‘who cannot pick up their phone while driving.’ Family and friends, social groups, or even individuals can participate. Beginning tomorrow people can download the Lifesaver app to their phone and it will keep track of how many times you open your phone while driving. At the end of each month the groups are scored and the lowest scores get bragging rights on Drive Healthy dot org. ODOT says a similar program in Boston reduced distracted driving by 47 percent. Oregon House bill 2597 becomes law on October 1st and increases the penalties for distracted driving to $2000.00. The lifesaver app is available at https://lifesaver-app.org
Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, and medical experts in Oregon and across the nation are fighting the growing epidemic of this preventable cause of death. The opioid epidemic has gained national attention as the numbers of deaths soared in recent years. Melissa Brewster is a pharmacist and clinical coordinator with Columbia Pacific C-C-O in the northwest part of the state. She says the number of overdose deaths have declined slightly in Oregon, with 12 people per 100-thousand deaths in 2015. But the northwest counties still are suffering, and Tillamook county has the highest overdose rate in the state. Brewster says anyone using an opioid is at risk for overdose.
“Patients who are using opioids appropriately oftentimes think that it couldn’t happen to them, that they couldn’t overdose because they’re using their medications appropriately and as prescribed. But unfortunately, we know that that’s not necessarily the case.”
Nearly 35-thousand people died across the country from opioid or heroin overdose in 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Earlier this month, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. Brewster says Columbia Pacific is working with clinics and hospitals to find alternatives to prescribing opioids for pain management and increasing access to naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids in the event of an overdose. She says Columbia Pacific also is working to increase access to medication-assisted treatments.
“We recognize that patients that are on opioids for a long time may develop physical dependence or an addiction to these medications, and the most effective treatment for opioid-use disorders is medication-assisted treatment with medications like buprenorphine or suboxone.”
Brewster says there’s been a dramatic decline in prescribing opioids for pain management, and that is leading to a decline in overdose deaths as well.
Celebration of Life
It was the celebration of a very good life. Yesterday at the Florence Event Center friends and family gathered to remember the life of Dune City Mayor Becky Ruede. The Event Center was packed with people who watched a slide show of pictures, heard heart warming stories and shared personal experiences with their friend. Coast Radio’s Wayne Sharpe, moderated the event and reminded people that it was okay to cry but that it was also ok to laugh when remembering their friend.
“What I wanted to point out to everyone at the celebration of life for Becky was the fact that yes were going to cry, but we can also laugh because there are always great memories to be treasured with people that we have had the privilege of knowing in our life.”
It was a testament to the life she lived and the people that she influenced over her years as a community leader and volunteer. Ruede had been mayor of Dune city since 2009. She lost her battle to cancer on August 17th