State expects spike in addiction treatment following HBO series
Mar 13,2007 00:00 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources

State officials say they are preparing to meet heightened interest in treatment and recovery growing out of a 14-part HBO series on addictions that begins Thursday.

"We're hoping people will watch the series, engage in local town-hall meetings and home discussion groups, and learn that addiction is really a treatable brain disease," said Bob Nikkel, Oregon Department of Human Services assistant director for addictions and mental health.

Nikkel said the HBO series, featuring personal stories and expert interviews, has added credibility because it was produced in cooperation with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institute on Drug Addiction, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and others.

"One in four Americans has a family member who is struggling with addiction," according to the Web site that is promoting the television series. It says 23.2 million Americans needed treatment in 2005. In Oregon, an estimated 410,173 adults and 99,252 youth need treatment, with approximately 69 percent of adults and 35.6 percent of youth who are believed to need publicly financed treatment actually receiving it.

Nikkel said Oregonians who want to pursue treatment have three primary options:

• For alcohol or other drug treatment, call the DHS-financed Oregon Partnership helpline at 1-800-923-HELP (1-800-923-4357).
• For problem-gambling treatment, call 1-877-2-STOP-NOW (1-877-278-6766).
• Or contact your local county mental health department, listed in the government (blue) pages of the phone book.

A series premiere is scheduled Wednesday at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

"A key message of the series is people should not be afraid to discuss addictions and should not hesitate to help loved ones seek treatment or enter needed treatment for themselves," Nikkel said.