WASHINGTON - Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee applauded Thursday the announcement of grant funding to tackle opioid addiction in Oregon.
As part of the 21st Century Cures Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the first round of grants to help states and territories combat the opioid epidemic.
Oregon will receive $6.5 million, administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which will be used toward the prevention of opioid abuse and treatment to those affected.
“The opioid crisis has hit every community and knows no bounds – we know that well in Oregon. Combating the epidemic requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and these critical dollars will play an important role in that effort,” Walden said.
“At roundtables throughout our state, I’ve heard from doctors, patients, and those on the front lines in the fight against opioid abuse. Their stories are a constant reminder of why these resources are vitally important to winning this battle. Oregon families have been devastated by this epidemic, and I’m encouraged by the Trump administration’s renewed focus to tackle this crisis head-on.”
As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Walden said he has led the charge in responding to the epidemic. In addition to the state grants within the 21st Century Cures Act, committee investigations also led to legislative solutions that ultimately were included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
Walden’s committee continues to look at all aspects of the opioid epidemic, most recently holding a hearing examining the federal government's response to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. In 2014 and 2015, a reported 49 people died from fentanyl in Oregon.