Here's to your health

And now, your outrage for the day: Before Oregon's health department sends out information on alcohol abuse, it clears the information with lobbyists from the beer and wine industry. Recently, the newly appointed wiz kid director of that department twisted a flack's arm to change what a press release said, about Alcohol Awareness Month, because the booze purveyors wanted the story spun differently.

“I would kindly ask that OHA share some of the ‘good news’ from a public health perspective around alcohol,” wrote Danelle Romain, head of the Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association. Romain included various statistics, including one showing binge drinking among teens had dropped by half.

[Sejal] Hathi, who was appointed to lead OHA last year by Gov. Tina Kotek, then emailed her chief of staff and communications director.

“Is the PR amenable to adding one of the stats they put forward? Maybe about teen drinking?” Hathi wrote.

The stat was added and hours later the release was sent out. The relevant section of the email was expanded, with the first sentence focused on a 50% drop in binge drinking among Oregon teens....

Romain listed four potential additions to make the release more “balanced,” including the statistic about the drop in youth binge drinking and other indications that the industry was facing headwinds. “Oregon is seeing lifestyle trends towards ‘sober curious’ and non-alcoholic beverages,” it notes.

Hathi’s suggestion that communications staff incorporate one of Romain’s suggestions met immediate pushback.

“I have some significant discomfort here. Can we talk about this?” Jonathan Modie, the agency spokesman who was putting together the release, wrote Cowie.

Boy, it didn't take long for Dr. Hathi to get right into the clutches of the bad guys. She's fitting right in in Salem.

“OHA is trying to be nice to these people and play ball,” says Jason Renaud of the Mental Health Association of Portland. “That’s probably a mistake. It’s like cuddling up to a snake.”

Amen, what a disgrace. The Oregon Health Authority: "We get your blood pressure up, then tell you to get it back down."


  1. I feel like the OHA is too big of an agency. They seem to while too much power and influence over too many things in this state. They also don’t look out for Oregon residents.

  2. If they were really concerned about our health they should stop sucking up to big pharma who is literally trying to kill us- mostly very slowly, but others real fast as in "died suddenly".

  3. The state needs to get out of the business of selling alcohol. That's Step 1.

    1. The state is biggest addict to alcohol and tobacco, and now marijuana. No way are they ever going to willingly give up any of that.

  4. Clutches of the bad guys? Hathi was a political hack before she started. It was plainly evident to anyone what she was.

    1. It seems to be a requirement for the position.


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