Columbia Pacific CCO Responds to the Opioid Crisis – Hosts Third Annual Opioid Summit in Seaside

ASTORIA, Ore.—Striving to strengthen a community of care sometimes means looking beyond our own neighborhoods to national issues like the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, Oregon has more than its share of the problem.

In a recent Senate hearing, Governor Kate Brown said, “We have seen a 400 percent increase in opioid use disorder over a 10-year period from 2005-2015. Roughly one in 10 of our young adults, aged 18 to 25, have abused opioids. Every other day, on average, we lose one more Oregonian due to an opioid overdose.”

Addressing the needs of our communities

CareOregon and its partner Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) are working diligently with their communities to address this issue throughout the state.

One outstanding example is the work done by Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, a CareOregon LLC. The CCO staff, board of directors and multidisciplinary clinical advisory panel have partnered with physical and behavioral health care providers and the community to develop innovative programs to reduce and treat opioid use. They have also helped to mobilize the community around this issue.

“Overdose deaths from opioids in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties still exceed the average for the state of Oregon,” says Safina Koreishi, MD, medical director for Columbia Pacific CCO. “Over the last couple of years, we have made great progress on a variety of initiatives, including annual community-wide summits on opioid and substance use disorder, training on safe prescribing and difficult conversations for primary care providers, completion of regional prescribing guidelines and increasing the use of Naloxone by emergency responders.”

“We have also worked with the community to start drug take-back boxes in pharmacies to help decrease the amount of unneeded opioid pills in circulation. All of this has been overseen by the CPCCO Clinical Advisory Panel, as well as the Northwest Regional Substance Use Steering Committee.”

According to Dr. Koreishi, Columbia Pacific CCO has also partnered with local primary care and behavioral health clinics to support the development of increased medically-assisted treatment services for opioid addiction within the community.

“We hope to build on our progress to address opioids and substance use through a trauma-informed lens to inspire collaboration and de-stigmatize addiction in our communities,” says Dr. Koreishi.

Dealing with underlying issues

  • Columbia Pacific CCO has worked with providers in Tillamook, Clatsop and Columbia counties to establish a behavioral health-based wellness center in each of the three counties. These centers work with patients in small groups over a 10-week period. Participants learn how to manage pain through movement, yoga, meditation and education. The wellness centers are free to CCO members. In 2018, the CCO will launch a community education campaign to help people in pain “get their life back” by helping direct them to these wellness centers.
  • In Columbia County, the CCO partnered with Columbia Community Mental Health to expand Pathways Substance Use Disorder Rehabilitation Center to include Bridge to Pathways, a nine-bed medically-assisted inpatient detoxification program. Managed by a medical care provider, it is the only program of its kind in the region. Before Bridge to Pathways, patients had to search all over the state to find an available detox bed. CCO members are given priority status in this center.
  • The North Coast Crisis Respite Center is a partnership in Clatsop County that includes Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Clatsop Behavioral Health, Columbia Memorial Hospital, Providence Seaside Hospital, Columbia Pacific CCO and the Clatsop County Public Health Department. The 16-bed crisis respite center is a sanctuary for community members experiencing a behavioral health crisis, including substance use disorder.

All the CCOs within the CareOregon family are addressing substance use disorders through a wide variety of clinical and educational efforts. Their goal is to shift this community crisis into a community collaboration for better physical and behavioral health.

Columbia Pacific CCO is hosting the third annual Opioid and Substance Use Summit on Monday and Tuesday, April 23 and 24, at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center.

All community members from Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties are invited to attend the event, as well as, physicians and other medical care providers, pharmacists, behavioral health clinicians and emergency first responders. A limited number of community scholarships are available.

To learn more about the event and scholarships or to register, please visit:


About Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization

Established in September 2012, Columbia Pacific CCO coordinates health services for more than 25,000 Oregon Health Plan members in Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties. For more information about this story, please contact Jeanie Lunsford at [email protected] or call 503-416-3626. Also visit us on the web at or
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