FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 19, 2020
Contact: Devon Downeysmith
Legislature Secures $20 Million in Immediate Funding for Addiction Recovery Services
Lawmakers respond to HJRA’s call that a portion of Measure 110 funds be made available now.
In a dramatic recognition of the urgency of the addiction crisis in Oregon, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means has moved forward a critical allocation of $20 million for vital health, harm reduction and recovery services.
The proposal passed out of committee today and is headed for a full floor vote in the House, where it is expected to pass. Due to the emergency clause contained within the bill, funds will be made immediately available, thereby allowing Oregon Health Authority to quickly distribute the funds.
“The Health Justice Recovery Alliance has been working closely with lawmakers to urgently address Oregon’s addiction crisis,” said Tera Hurst, Executive Director of the Health Justice Recovery Alliance. “Before the pandemic, Oregon was already in the midst of an addiction crisis. What we’re seeing now is providers having to shutter operations and reduce staff and programs, all during a time when people need these services now more than ever before. The need for funding is overwhelming, and this $20 million will help ensure that providers can serve the most vulnerable individuals in our community.”
Providers from across the state have weighed in to share how emergency funds can help them meet the tremendous need for services across the state:
- “This funding would allow us to provide stable, safe, sober housing for up to 25 individuals struggling with addiction in our rural communities. We can work quickly to meet the need by increasing capacity within agencies already integrated in our communities.” – Amy Ashton-Williams, Executive Director of Oregon Washington Health Network, which operates in Union, Umatilla, Morrow Counties in Oregon and in Walla Walla county in Washington.
- “These funds can help us address the racist War on Drugs’ disproportionate impact on Black, Latinx, Native and tribal communities by providing housing for Black individuals transitioning out of incarceration, and allowing us to hire additional peer support specialists to help people in their recovery journey.” – Larry Turner, Executive Director, Fresh Out.
- “Our community was hit hard by the wildfires last summer; hundreds of individuals, including many living in affordable housing units, have been displaced. More people in our community are using substances to cope with the trauma of this experience, and need the services treatment organizations provide. These funds can help house up to 120 Southern Oregon residents who are struggling with Substance Use Disorder to aid them in their journey to recovery. ” – Lori Paris, President & CEO of Addictions Recovery Center in Medford.
- “People with addictions are having an especially hard time during this pandemic, and this money can help us provide additional harm reduction-centered overdose prevention education, and facilitate access to naloxone so that we can keep people safe.” – Haven Wheelock, MPH, Overdose Prevention Specialist at Outside In.
Last November Oregon voters made history by passing Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act, which decriminalized personal possession of all drugs and expanded access to addiction treatment and other health services.
“The legislature recognizes the tremendous and immediate need for more addiction recovery services in our communities,” said Tera Hurst. “The fact that they have worked so quickly to make these funds available shows recognition of the fact that we’re in a crisis, and that responding to Oregon’s addiction crisis is truly a form of pandemic response.”
About Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act
The Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act is part of a growing, global movement to shift to a health-based, treatment-over-punishment model of supporting individuals experiencing Substance Use Disorder. Oregon’s new law expands access to treatment and removes unfairly harsh punishments for minor, nonviolent drug offenses, so people with addiction can more easily recover. Oregon’s new law does not legalize any drugs. Learn more about how Oregon’s new law works here.
About the Health Justice Recovery Alliance
The Oregon Health Justice Recovery Alliance is a statewide advocacy coalition whose work is focused on successful implementation of the Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act. The Alliance works to ensure that the new law centers on the needs of communities most harmed by the War on Drugs: Black, Latinx, Native and tribal communities. The coalition represents more than 75 community-based organizations across the state with deep knowledge and experience working to serve and strengthen local communities: medical associations, culturally-specific organizations, labor, harm reduction and recovery providers and advocates, people in recovery and more.