Skip to Content

Deschutes SO, partner launch ‘Operation Guardian Angel,’ a medication-aided treatment program


BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday it is partnering with Ideal Option, a national leader in outpatient medication-assisted treatment for addiction, to roll out their new program: Operation Guardian Angel, which is aimed at diverting more people who possess illicit substances for personal use into recovery.

In November 2020, Oregonians voted in favor of Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act. "While the full effect of Measure 110 has yet to be realized, the data so far is underwhelming," the sheriff's office said in its news release, which continues below:

A five-month study by the Oregon Department of Justice showed that out of 1,085 citations issued for drug possession since the measure was enacted into law last February, only three assessment/screening verifications were received and 400 people failed to appear for their court date.

"Operation Guardian Angel, modeled after successful programs in other states, is designed to empower those in the community who are struggling with the disease of addiction to come forward without fear of legal repercussions and begin their recovery with medication-assisted treatment," the announcement said. 

The kick-off event will take place on Friday, Dec. 10, 11:00 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Ideal Option clinic, located at 404 NE Penn Avenue in Bend. Individuals are invited to voluntarily surrender their illicit substances and paraphernalia for safe disposal and transfer immediately to Ideal Option to be enrolled in their evidence-based outpatient treatment program.

Most people will be able to see a provider that same day or make an appointment for the next business day. For nearly all patients, costs are covered by Medicaid or private insurance. 

All members of the community and representatives of the media are welcome to attend the event to learn more and pick up educational materials for themselves or loved ones. 

After the kick-off event, individuals interested in the program are encouraged to contact the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office or contact Ideal Option directly to start treatment. 

The Ideal Option clinic in Bend is open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Ideal Option has helped nearly 50,000 people with medication-assisted treatment for addiction to fentanyl, methamphetamine, alcohol and other substances since 2012 and has 70 clinics nationwide, including locations in Bend, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis and Hillsboro. 

KTVZ news sources



    1. In my shop I have an entire drawer dedicated to hammers. None of them are designed to drive nails. In the real world, hammers are used for a wide diversity of work –from splitting mountains to crafting the finest of musical instruments. Not sure how that fits into your oversimplified worldview but at least now you know.

  1. I guess DCSO is going to transport in lieu of citation these individuals directly to Ideal Option because they are not going on their own now. 3 out of 1085.

  2. The headline of this story is misleading as it implies Ideal Options and its program are somehow directly connected to the Sheriff’s Office.

    Ideal Options is a private sector clinic, newly opened in Bend / Central Oregon. Its program, in part, offers the following. “Our outpatient addiction medicine clinic in Bend, OR provides evidence-based treatment for addiction to opioids like fentanyl, heroin, and oxycodone, and stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine. We also provide medication-assisted treatment for alcohol withdrawal and relapse prevention.

    “Our addiction medicine specialists in Bend may prescribe a variety of medications including Suboxone® or Subutex® (buprenorphine), Vivitrol® (naltrexone), disulfiram, acamprosate, gabapentin, carbamazepine, pregabalin, and many others. Patients may be referred to methadone treatment or inpatient facilities if needed.

    “As specialists in addiction medicine since 2012, Ideal Option treats all patients with empathy, care and respect – never judgment. We accept Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance, and offer payment plans for those who need it. Best of all, most new patients can start treatment at our Bend clinic within just a few days.”

    This is DCSO’s role as announced in its full press release: “After the kick-off event, individuals interested in the program are encouraged to contact the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office or contact Ideal Option directly to start treatment.”

    That said, there are a number of law enforcement operations across the nation with the title “Guardian Angel”.

    Child Pornography –

    Traffic –

    US Military –

    Kudos to the Sheriff’s Office for actively seeking out alternative opportunities to arrest and incarceration for those suffering from addiction, whether alcohol or drug. This is a 21st Century approach partnering law enforcement with clinicians – and in a healthy, responsible, and do-able manner.

    1. Then you must think the sheriff’s office is misleading the public.
      Their headline: “Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Launches Operation Guardian Angel” Yes, we added a few words of what the program is. Of course it’s a private-sector clinic, they are partnering with them in their operation.
      You left out the Curtis Sliwa group begun in the ’70s, the Guardian Angels.
      Maybe they should have consulted you for another name.

      1. Barney LertenCancel –

        Snide does not become you.

        A press release is just that.

        The reporter or staff member at 21, or any other news organization, is expected to read the release carefully and then, if a story is to be made of it, develop an appropriate headline and include relevant details.

        And clarifications, if need be. Properly identifying Ideal Option and its program is a relevant detail; properly providing exactly WHAT the Sheriff’s Office is offering in terms of a role in such a program / partnership is relevant.

        And as the title of the Operation (Guardian Angel) is presented as being all across the country – it is relevant to offer that in this instance the title is unique to Ideal Option and the Sheriff’s Office – and is not affiliated with the numerous other “Guardian Angel” programs and operations, a sampling I only pointed out.

        Attention to detail, clarity, accuracy, and relevance are crucial in reporting.

        And given I worked professionally in the field of behavioral health and substance dependency for ten years – and successfully – I applaud this partnership. But let’s agree that the distinct roles are important to identify – and why.

        1. Seemed pretty clear to me, the release and our posting of it, verbatim. We’ll learn more next week at kickoff and/or likely in a reporter story early in the week. This info came out from DCSO just before 5 on Friday and was worth sharing. (PS: But to be clearer, added ‘partner’ to headline.)

          1. Again, way too sensitive.

            A press release is written as a press release.

            A reporter’s duty is to read the release, ask questions to clarify its “headline” and content, and then turn it into a story if that’s the decision made.

            Simply publishing a press release and adding a few extra words to it is both lazy and “cheating”.

            A simple Google check by a reporter would have shown there are NO other like partnerships between a law enforcement agency or Ideal Option anywhere in the country – that I could find.

            But there are plenty of “Guardian Angel” programs and they cover a broad spectrum of subjects, projects, and operations.

            Accuracy in Media is the responsibility of the Media.

            Even a phone call to Sheriff Nelson for an up to date quote on the program would have been proactive and perhaps clarifying.

            1. We have posted 1,000s of news releases pretty much verbatim on our site (many to our Community Billboard from nonprofits and government organizations). It allows us to cover a much larger set of info than everything assigned to a reporter, which is unrealistic.
              If there are questions, we ask them. If they are well-written, we post them pretty much as is. That doesn’t appear to be an issue with most people.
              Police and fire news releases are usually rewritten and if there are “holes” we seek to fill them. Our policy does remove names in some situations (crashes/crimes).
              We will be doing more on this program next week. There was no reason to delay the announcement.

        2. Barney wasn’t being snide, he was pointing out the reported facts from the story and press releases. It always seems when the Bulletin, KTVZ, Central Oregon Daily, or OPB report on the DCSO the as news agencies they all get it wrong, strange coincident…….. And the Sheriff is the victim of rogue press…….

  3. “A five-month study by the Oregon Department of Justice showed that out of 1,085 citations issued for drug possession since the measure was enacted into law last February, only three assessment/screening verifications were received and 400 people failed to appear for their court date.”

    Well, duhhhhh! Like no one saw that coming…so much for holding people accountable or giving them a “push” to beat their addiction.

  4. Just keep lowering the bar so everyone gets a prize. I wonder what the “Ideal Option” would do if a vet or elderly person walked in and said they could no longer afford their life-saving medications? Would they try to help them out or would they throw them out?

    1. Actually, this is raising the bar for those who want to avoid an initial or repeat contact with law enforcement and the judicial system by stepping forward, raising their hands, and saying “I want and need help”.

      And if someone walked in to Ideal Option and asked the question you pose – there is little doubt their staff would recommend any number of resources that are helping folks obtain / afford their life-saving medications.

      For example –

      “OPDP is the state’s prescription discount card program.

      “All Oregonians can enroll for free.
      There are no age or income limits.
      Enroll and start saving now!
      Get discounts on all FDA-approved drugs.

      “Save up to 80% on generics.
      Take your discount card to an OPDP pharmacy to get the discount. Drug manufacturer rebate contracts do not offer rebates on drugs purchased using the Discount Card. Therefore, OPDP does not collect rebates for drugs purchased through the Discount Card program.

      “Language friendly –
      OPDP Information in English
      OPDP Information in Spanish
      OPDP Information in Chuukese
      OPDP Information in Korean
      OPDP Information in Somali
      OPDP Information in Vietnamese
      OPDP Information in Traditional Chinese
      OPDP Information in Russian
      OPDP Information in Arabic

      Just say’in.

      1. The rub is, the druggies get the treatment free, why not the rest of the folks in need? Do they need to get hooked on crack as well as need life-saving drugs?

  5. I would love to see the Unemployment office and a few local business groups attend this event to encourage treatment-to-jobs programs. If there is a bright light at the end of that long dark tunnel, it will better encourage users to get clean and become more stable.

  6. The bottom line is that the DCSO is going to transport people accused of possession of personal quantities of illegal drugs to privately owned Ideal Options to put them on alternative drugs in hope of curing their drug addiction. It doesn’t say what the percentage rate of success is.

    1. Wrong.

      Nowhere is that offered or said.

      The Sheriff’s Office supports the program but those wishing to take advantage of it are on their own to contact Ideal Option…before they come into negative contact with Law Enforcement.

      1. Cardiac, thanks for taking the time to expand on the story and providing useful information that is typically lacking here in the comment section. I’ve no idea why Barney seemed to take exception to your post – I generally think if him as a reasonable and fair moderator that wouldn’t find offense in those looking to add information to a story here. Be well.

Leave a Reply

Skip to content