The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde expanded its fight against opioid addiction Monday with the opening of a new recovery clinic in Portland.
A crowd of roughly 50 people gathered for the grand opening of the Great Circle Recovery clinic, 3580 SE 82nd Ave., where tribal and Multnomah County officials spoke and celebrated with ceremonial drumming and a ribbon cutting.
Tribal chairwoman Cheryle Kennedy said Native American overdose deaths have increased by over 500 percent since 2000.
“We have to act now. It’s affecting our younger people at a greater rate, but it has no boundaries,” said Kennedy. “They can be elders as well. It’s devastating.”
Kelly Rowe, Health and Wellness Director for the tribe, says the clinic staff is trained for fentanyl which is 100 times more potent than morphine.
“It is stronger than any other illicit drug out there. And it is a quick addiction process for people.”
The Grand Ronde opened their first opioid clinic almost two years ago in Salem, where they say they’ve since treated 500 people.
Like that clinic, tribal officials want people to know that their doors are open to everyone suffering from opioid addiction, whether they’re a tribal member or not.
In a statement issued by the tribe after the Portland clinic’s grand opening, the Grand Ronde says that while most treatment centers focus solely on medical treatment, Great Circle Recovery “embraces a whole-person perspective” to recovery, which means the focus will tend to someone’s medical needs as well as the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of recovery.
There’s also a strong Native American aspect to both clinics, from cultural and spiritual practices to the decor, featuring camas flower tiles and tribal artwork.
“If you have your own culture involved through any element of healing, your progress will be more successful,” Kennedy said.