Oregon Communities Battle Opioid Crisis as Final Legislative Package Moves Forward in Congress

Oregon Communities Battle Opioid Crisis as Final Legislative Package Moves Forward in Congress

Combating the opioid crisis requires an all-hands-on-deck approach from all of us. Across Oregon, treatment advocates, medical providers, law enforcement officers, first responders, local officials, families, and everyday members of the community are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in this fight. I’ve listened to their tragic stories and learned from their experenices.  Their struggles have informed the legislation that is about to become law.

Working together, we’re getting real results in Congress.  On Friday afternoon, the House passed our comprehensive, bipartsan legislation, H.R. 6 on a 393-8 vote. It includes advances in treatment, requirements for best prescribing practices, help with drug take back programs and efforts to stop deadly, illegal fentanyls from coming across our borders.  I’ve spent countless hours working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and between the House and the Senate to achieve this agreement.  I’ve also worked with President Trump and his team, and know that they are on board with our efforts, too.

In Wallowa County, I met with local health care and law enforcement officials to get their feedback on our legislative efforts.

Wallowa County Sheriff Steve Rogers discusses how a drug take back program is helping prevent unused prescription pills from fueling the opioid crisis in eastern Oregon. Boxes filled with powerful pain killers illustrate how well the take back system is utilized by the local community.

The Enterprise Police Department has implemented a robust drug take back program that encourages members of the local community to drop off their unused prescription pills for safe disposal. I saw firsthand the success of that program, which is helping to reduce the risk of misuse and abuse of powerful prescription pills.

The police department is also teaming up with Winding Waters Community Health Center to tackle this epidemic head on. Winding Waters has provided the Enterprise Police Department with Narcan, a safe and effective anti-overdose drug that can save lives in an emergency.

Wallowa County is one of the only places in Oregon where Carfentanil, a synthetic fentanyl, has been detected. Our legislation will take steps to get these dangerous drugs off our streets and help stop them from flowing into our communities in the first place.

To learn more about my legislation, please click here.

Walden visit includes opioid abuse discussion

U.S. Rep., Greg Walden found out that rural areas are suffering as much as big cities from the opioid crisis after he made a one-hour whistle stop in Wallowa County last week.

He met with Winding Waters Community Health Center, the Enterprise Police Department and Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office to learn how the agencies team to combat the opioid crisis in eastern Oregon. The Sept. 19 event took place at the county’s justice center in Enterprise.

Click here to read more from the Wallowa County Chieftain.

Oregon to Receive $17 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Having led the effort to reauthorize and fully fund community health centers, I continue to meet with providers and patients to discuss challenges and opportunities, including here at Medford-based La Clinica Community Health Center. Community health centers, like La Clinica, are receiving new grant funding to help combat the opioid crisis in Oregon.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Oregon will receive more than $17 million to increase access to opioid abuse and addiction treatment, especially in rural areas.

Recently, HHS awarded more than $1 billion in opioid-related grants to help combat the opioid epidemic. These grants were awarded in all 50 states.

Included in this grant funding is $396 million for community health centers and rural health programs through HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Oregon will receive $6.7 million in funding through HRSA, including $2.2 million for Oregon’s Second District.

These resources will support medical providers at community health centers, who are on the front lines of this work in Oregon. I was proud to help lead the effort in Congress to boost and extend funding for community health centers for two years, and this additional grant funding comes from prior efforts I’ve backed to directly address the drug addiction and opioid challenges we face.  To learn more about these grants please click here.

Greg Walden announces grants to combat opioid crisis in Oregon

Congressman Greg Walden announced federal funding to combat the opioid crisis in Oregon.

According to Walden’s office, $17 million in new grants from the Department of Health and Human Services will go to “increase access to a wide range of opioid abuse and addiction services across the state, specifically targeted to rural areas.”

Click here to read more from KOBI TV in Medford.

Photos from the Road

It was likely in wagons like these that my great-great grandparents crossed the Oregon Trail and arrived in The Dalles two weeks ago in 1845. For lifelong Oregonians like myself, sights like this are a great reminder of the rich history that can only be found in the Beaver State.

Walden Hears Concerns About Forest Plan from County Officials and Community Leaders

County and forestry leaders from across northeastern Oregon met with me in Baker City to express their frustration with the proposed Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision.  

The objections raised by farmers, ranchers, and local leaders in eastern Orgon about the Blue Mountain Forest Plan are serious.  It appears that years of public input got thrown out the window, leaving me and local elected officials very frustrated and deeply concerned about the impact such a plan would have on our way of life in northeastern Oregon.  I am sharing the concerns I heard at the meeting directly with Forest Service officials, including the new Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa who I’ve asked to personally join me in eastern Oregon in October to discuss this plan with local stakeholders.

Walden meets with county officials

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was in Baker City Wednesday morning to attend a meeting of the Eastern Oregon Counties Association at the Courthouse.

Walden discussed the recent Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision as well as the federal Farm Bill.

Click here to read more from the Baker City Herald.

Walden Discusses Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking in Rural Oregon

The stories I heard from law enforcement and human trafficking survivors in La Grande were heartbreaking and stunning. This evil needs to be faced head on, and I’m supporting efforts in Congress to do just that.

Human trafficking is a scourge that has touched every corner of our country, and rural Oregon is not immune to this evil. In La Grande, I met with survivors, law enforcement, and local leaders to discuss how we can combat human trafficking and protect our communities.

It is estimated that as many as 300,000 American children are at risk of being trafficked in the United States. That is why I’m supporting legislation in Congress to empower law enforcement to combat human trafficking, boost support for survivors, and identify and root out the tools bad actors use to perpetrate this vile crime.

At the Energy and Commerce Committee, where I serve as Chairman, we’ve taken the lead on measures to address sex trafficking online and bolster health care programs for survivors and potential victims. One bill that was signed into law with my support will allow state authorities to investigate and prosecute websites that facilitate sex trafficking.

It’s also important that we pair federal efforts with efforts on the ground in our communities. Senator Bill Hansell, who represents Wallowa, Union, Gilliam, Sherman, and parts of Wasco counties, joined our meeting in La Grande. Senator Hansell is leading the effort in the Oregon state legislature to ensure information for human trafficking tip-lines are posted on rest stop bathrooms across the state. This will give people a safe place they can call and get help.

To read more about the efforts I’ve supported in Congress to combat human trafficking, please click here.

 

Union County officials meet with Walden to talk human trafficking

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden met with law enforcement, Union County Commissioners, Grande Ronde Hospital staff and community members to talk about human trafficking Wednesday at the Meisner Conference Room in La Grande.

An estimated 300,000 American children are at risk of being trafficked in the United States, according to documentation provided by Walden that listed old and new legislation to combat human trafficking.

Click here to read more from the La Grande Observer.

POW/MIA Recognition Day Offers Opportunity to Reflect

Friday, September 21, marked the annual National POW/MIA Recognition Day. There are 999 POW/MIA service members from Oregon, and thousands from across the country, to whom we pay tribute on this hallowed day.

The iconic black-and-white POW/MIA flag hangs next to the American flag outside of my office in Washington, D.C. Every time I see that flag I am reminded of the commitment written on the flag that we have made to those heroes who were captured or never returned home: “You Are Not Forgotten”. POW/MIA Recognition Day offers an opportunity to reaffirm that commitment and reflect upon the freedoms and way of life we are able to enjoy as Americans because of the sacrifices of those who have served our country.

Thank you for reading this update. Remember, you can always keep in touch with me via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District

 

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