Oregonians who’ve lost a loved one to addiction, whether it be opioids or crack cocaine, are putting that name on a shoe.
The shoes will then be added to a pile in Shemanski Park in downtown Portland on Saturday morning.
Several large Oregon health care nonprofits plan to collect the shoes and deliver them to the offices of lawmakers in Salem at the start of the legislative session in February.
The new Oregon Recovers coalition wants lawmakers to spend less on locking up addicts and more on treatment.
William Moyers, the son of political commentator Bill Moyers, traveled to Portland to talk about his own struggle with addiction.
“The opioid epidemic finally has allowed us to see that this War on Drugs has failed,” he said. “The War on Drugs has been a war against sick people.”
The Oregon Recovers coalition includes large health care providers like Kaiser Permanente and Trillium Family Services.
The effort comes at a crucial time for health care, too. Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have threatened many recovery services, because they rely largely on Medicaid.