Wednesday, August 16, 2023
By: Tom Joyce
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $300,000 to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to help it respond to opioid overdoses. It received the funds as part of the Department’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Program. The initiative aims to prevent substance abuse deaths in high-risk rural communities.
U.S. Representative Andrea Salinas, D-Oregon, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, welcomed the newfound funding.
Salinas said the funding is crucial since Native Americans often face barriers to substance abuse treatment.”As the federal government works to combat the spread of opioids, it cannot afford to overlook rural and tribal communities,” Salinas said in a press release issued by Wyden’s office. “That’s why I’m glad the Department of Health and Human Services will award $300,000 to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde for opioid overdose response programs. Indigenous communities face significant obstacles to substance use disorder care, and these funds will help break down barriers to ensure our most at-risk communities get the help they urgently need.”
Wyden said the funding will help save lives. “Oregonians in every nook and cranny of the state have had their lives torn apart by the opioid crisis, and that includes members of the tribes that have inhabited this land since time immemorial,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified to see these funds go to help the Grand Ronde people prevent and respond to opioid overdoses, but this scourge demands a comprehensive response, and this federal investment in prevention, treatment, and more will help. I’ll keep battling to provide all the resources needed to address this crisis with the urgency it requires.”
And Merkley said the funding is a start on what the state needs to beat the opioid epidemic. “Across our state, I’ve heard heart-wrenching stories from Oregonians who have lost loved ones and lacked the support needed to prevent overdoses,” Merkley said. “This critical funding will help the Grand Ronde community with the resources they need to combat this crisis. This is just the start of what Oregonians need to eventually end the opioid crisis.”
The number of drug overdose deaths in the United States has increased by about 500% since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oregon suffered 779 opioid overdose deaths in 2021, accounting for two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths in the state that year.