Rep. Malstrom: Reflections on rookie year
The 79th Legislative Session has ended. Overall, I have returned to House District 27 feeling positive about my first session in the Capitol as your state representative.
While this session was challenging, the Legislature delivered several of our priorities, including expanded access to reproductive health care, preserving and expanding Medicaid coverage and a historic investment in our transportation system.
My main policy goal as a freshman legislator was the improvement of public health, and I focused my efforts on Oregon's growing opioid epidemic, specifically in preventing addiction. And, while the Legislature took steps to reduce the number of opioids in circulation, I am disappointed that we were unable to pass House Bill 2645, the drug take-back program.
This bill would have created a statewide drug take-back program for unused prescription medications. The benefits of establishing a safe, responsible way to dispose of pills include improving our water quality, reducing accidental poisonings, but most importantly, helps to address the growing opioid crisis in Oregon. Increasingly, the victims of addiction are teenagers who are stealing medication from cabinets, not the patients that are overusing prescriptions.
While HB 2645 did not pass this session, Gov. Kate Brown and legislative leadership are forming an opioid task force, which will propose legislative concepts to help address this public health crisis, and I look forward to coordinating efforts with the task force to include a drug take-back program as part of their efforts.
While I am proud of the work that our Legislature accomplished this year, there is still work to do, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to complete the unfinished business we left on the table.
State Rep. Sheri Malstrom,
Oregon House District 27
(Editor's Note: Malstrom was first elected to represent Oregon House, which includes Beaverton and SW Portland, in 2016. She serves on the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services, as well as the House Committees on Health Care, and Early Childhood and Family Supports.)