Beaverton-based addiction specialists to address integrated treatment options

What: Addiction and Co-occurring Disorders: A conference for physicians, clinicians, and other healing professionals, hosted by Hazelden Beaverton addiction services

Where: Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 S.W. Sixth Ave., downtown Portland

When: Friday, Oct. 11, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Registration fee: $95

To register and for more information: Visit

Dr. Andrew Mendenhall, medical director of Hazelden Beaverton addictions services will address Oregon’s opiate use and drug addiction crisis in a conference on Friday, Oct. 11, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 S.W. Sixth Ave., in Portland.

Mendenhall will share with medical professionals strategies on how to better treat patients with co-occurring issues and concerns that often accompany addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Formerly HealthWorks NW, the adult services clinic renovated and expanded its facility at 1500 NW Bethany Blvd., suite 240, to 6,500-square feet earlier this year. This week, Hazelden announced a merger with the Betty Ford Center, which Mendenhall said makes the combined entity the largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider in the U.S.

Here are some thoughts Mendenhall shared on the conference in a question-and-answer exchange with the

Valley Times: How did Friday's conference come to fruition?

Mendenhall: Hazelden Leadership has been looking forward to bringing its regional team together to speak about the treatment issues we are deeply passionate about. We think the timing is very fortuitous, considering our recent merger with the Betty Ford Foundation.

VT: Who is your intended audience, and who will be there?

Mendenhall: This particular conference is for mental and medical health professionals, particularly chemical dependency counselors and physicians. However, the fact that the conference is happening is relevant knowledge for the general public, as prescription drug abuse itself is an epidemic in the Pacific Northwest. As long as it remains true that Oregon has the highest rate of non-medical opiate abuse in the U.S., the public needs to know that Hazelden is working through every possible means to address the crisis – through providing recovery support services, addiction research, prevention curriculum development, publishing, addiction awareness and public policy advocacy and professional education such as this conference.

VT: What is the goal of the conference, and what topics you intend to address?

Mendenhall: Physician speakers will address pain, mental health issues, trauma, and how these issues often contribute to substance abuse issues. The conference will also cover new and evolving medical detoxification and relapse prevention technologies.

VT: What do you see as Hazelden's particular role in the Portland area, where suicide and addiction rates are often higher than national averages?

Mendenhall: We are spearheading the integration of treatment, based on the model of 12-Step Recovery with the use of scientifically-proven medicines to help patients relapse less. It is our goal to use all of the available science to support a person’s goal to maintain their recovery. Regionally, we have a history of being a drug-permissive culture. When I was in college in Portland there was an intellectualism around taking chemical risks with one’s brain. Twenty-two years ago, prescription drugs and synthetic drugs were almost not present. Over the past six to seven years we have seen clear evidence that early risk-taking behavior with prescription medicines leads many individuals down a pathway towards heroin.

VT: Any additional thoughts on the conference, local addiction issues or Hazelden's role in the community?

Mendenhall: We are happy to be presenting this important information to professionals within this region. We hope this conference will be the first of many Hazelden community-education initiatives that help create further discussion, and collaboration among individuals and agencies within this region.


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