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Oregon Gov. Kotek Signs 6 Addiction, Mental Health Bills

The bills will make it easier to distribute the opioid reversal drug Narcan, create a curriculum on the dangers of certain drugs, fund a coordinated crisis services system, establish a task force to study alcohol pricing and addiction services, and more.

Gov. Tina Kotek signed six bills into law Tuesday targeting Oregon’s addiction and mental health crises.

The bills range from creating new curriculum to teach youth about drugs laced with fentanyl to strengthening the implementation of Measure 110, Oregon’s landmark voter-approved drug decriminalization law.

“As your Governor, I am fighting for a behavioral health system that really does work across our state,” Kotek said prior to signing the bills. “We do need to improve outcomes.”

With her signature, ongoing funding will be provided to the state’s suicide and mental health crisis line, an opioid overdose reversal drug will get into the hands of more people, students will receive education about fentanyl beginning in fall 2024, the state will consider if alcohol should cost more to deter addiction and the Oregon Health Authority will become more accountable for carrying out Measure 110.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt and Blanchet House director Scott Kerman, whose agency provides homeless services, were among the roughly 50 people present to watch Kotek sign the bills.

The bills include:

  • Senate Bill 1043, which directs hospitals to provide two doses of Narcan, the opioid reversal drug, upon discharge to patients with a substance use disorder.
  • House Bill 2395, which makes it easier to distribute Narcan to people who need it most.
  • Senate Bill 238, which directs the Oregon Health Authority, the Department of Education and Drug Policy Commission to create a curriculum on the dangers of certain drugs.
  • House Bill 2757, which better funds a coordinated crisis services system that includes suicide and mental health crisis hotlines.
  • House Bill 2513, which directs local planning committees to coordinate with local behavioral health networks on services provided to the community. The bill aims to target the slow rollout of Measure 110.
  • House Bill 3610, which creates a task force to study both alcohol pricing and addiction services.

Kotek noted that alcohol was the third-leading cause of preventable death in the state and said that Oregon should not play a role in encouraging overconsumption of alcohol.

In response to the ongoing criticisms of the rollout of Measure 110, Kotek said she believes the measure can work as intended with the right implementation.

“(House Bill 2513) clarifies that vagueness of who has what role,” she said. “We know Measure 110 money is working … new detox beds are standing up here in a week.”

Rep. Rob Nosse, D- Portland, who chaired the House Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care, said the bill will help create more treatment options and fund hospitals and community programs by making the funding process easier and strengthening accountability.

“Give (Measure 110) a chance and the time it needs,” Nosse said. “It’s only been a year of Measure 110 while we have given the war on drugs half a century.”

Sen. Deb Patterson, D- Salem, who chaired the Senate Committee on Health Care, said she is excited to see more opioid overdose reversal medications distributed to save lives and give people a chance at recovery.

The pair of Narcan bills will get the opioid overdose reversal medication into grocery stores, restaurants, police stations and public schools to ensure more people can easily access it.

But Kotek said there is unfinished business that the Legislature will need to address in the next session, including making needed reforms at the Oregon State Hospital.

“There’s always unfinished business,” she said. “One thing I need for the Legislature to partner with me on is the state hospital. … We must support the workforce.”

©2023 Advance Local Media LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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