A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D. at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on April 25, 2017.

A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D. at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on April 25, 2017.

George Frey/Reuters

Gov. Kate Brown’s bill to tackle Oregon’s opioid epidemic appears to have strong bipartisan support, following a hearing in Salem this week.

The bill has three main aims: to require everyone who prescribes opioids to register with the state’s monitoring program; to require a study of the barriers to medication-assisted treatment; and finally, to create a pilot program that puts former opioid addicts into emergency rooms as counselors.

Julia Pinsky of Medford lost her son to an overdose five years ago. She says he left an emergency room, only to be found overdosed in a public restroom that same day.

“It is so important that there is help in the Emergency Department for so many people that find themselves there, the victims of substance use disorder,” she said. 

State Health Officer Dr. Katrina Hedberg told the hearing that Oregon’s drug monitoring system is limited, compared with other states.

Rep. Knute Beuhler, R-Bend, who’s running for governor, questioned the need for more research, saying the barriers to treatment are already well understood.