Where a moonshot is needed, a bottle rocket budget

The people we elect to go to Salem and make state law are dithering over a few million bucks for drug addiction treatment in Lincoln County. 

In Lincoln County, Pacific Communities Health District, a public agency that owns health care facilities, has purchased a former adult foster home in Newport. The district, cities, the county and nonprofits have raised $5.7 million for remodeling and a 8,000 square foot addition for the project, which will provide residential and outpatient services. 

Samaritan Health Services, which runs two hospitals in that region, has agreed to staff the facility. 

But it needs state funding for the renovations to complete the $10 million project...

Dr. Lesley Ogden, chief executive officer of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, said the project, if funded, would model its work after an existing program Samaritan runs in Lebanon. 

“Inpatient treatment is a critical first step in the recovery process for many individuals, but there are currently no inpatient services in Lincoln County,” Ogden told lawmakers. “The closest inpatient programs are over an hour away and have long waitlists that prioritize people from their own communities, leaving Lincoln County residents on waitlists or forcing them to travel up to 300 miles for treatment.”

It's so sad. To clean up Oregon's mental illness and drug addiction, the true budget number is probably close to $2 billion. And the money needs to be spent wisely. That all seems like way too much for the people we elect to go to Salem.