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Letter: Umatilla County failing residents with addictions

Published on September 13, 2017 3:55PM

I am a former employee of Umatilla County Human Services, the department in charge of addictions counseling and mental illness services within the county. Beyond that, I am also a mental illness patient myself and in recovery from substance abuse.

Our county is facing a serious issue right now in that UCHS is not acting in the community’s best interest. In fact, having worked within the department, I can say it is doing more damage than good.

This is due to a severe lack of proper management, and unfortunately, unless the community makes its voice heard this will not change. When an addictions counseling center has a large percentage of addicts relapsing, there is a serious issue that must be addressed.

Patients are being forced to go through multiple counselors — counselors who are passionate about helping people but are continually moved between clients and classes, unable to form any sort of healthy patient/counselor relationship, which is necessary when helping people with addictions.

Those in charge lack the capacity to lead, yet will do nothing to change the quality of care being offered. This is a disservice to our community and a missed opportunity to provide a much-needed service to the afflicted within our community.

To those in need of help, know you are not alone. There are people that are here to help you because we’ve lived it and come out alive. I urge all within that community with a voice to speak out and demand better care for yourselves and your loved ones. You deserve better.

Joe Cooney



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