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Oregon senators announce $7.8 million for opioid treatment programs

WASHINGTON - Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced Friday more than $7.8 million in federal grants that will support efforts to treat and prevent opioid addiction— one of Oregon’s most pressing issues as communities across the state face an increase in opioid-related deaths.

“I have heard heart-wrenching stories from Oregonians who have lost loved ones after a prescription for an injury or treatment turned into an addiction,” Merkley said. 

The opioid crisis will require a multi-pronged approach, and that’s why in addition to introducing the Opioid Treatment Surge Act — which would require the drug companies that flooded the market with improperly marketed opioid drugs to pay for a dramatic increase in treatment — I’ve used my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fight for these grant resources. This funding will support programs that are critical to helping our communities respond to this crisis and save lives.

 “Oregon communities battling the opioid abuse that’s devastating families across our state can use these resources to make real gains in substance use treatment and prevention,” Wyden said. These federal grants complement the bipartisan opioids legislation I worked as the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee to pass last year in response to what I heard from Oregonians in town halls, grocery store lines and ballgames.

"All these steps are needed urgently to reverse the human cost of opioid abuse that surfaces far too often in Oregon homes and neighborhoods.

Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose. In 2017, the last full year of available opioid data, 1.7 million Americans experienced a substance use disorder stemming from opioid prescription drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 21 to 29 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.

The $7.8 million U.S. Health and Human Services State Opioid Response grants will support prevention, treatment, and recovery services in Oregon, part of $1.8 billion distributed nationwide to address the opioid epidemic.


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