New opioid treatment programs to serve rural Oregon

More Oregonians struggling with opioid use disorder will have access to treatment, thanks to Oregon Health Authority’s strategic investments of federal grant dollars in rural Oregon.

With support from grant funding provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a new program opened in Springfield in April, and additional programs will soon open in Coos Bay and Pendleton.

In 2015, only seven counties had at least one opioid treatment program, and six of them were located in the I-5 corridor. Soon, 11 counties will be served by an opioid treatment program.

“Making treatment available to those who need it is an important part of OHA’s overall strategy in combating the opioid crisis,” said Dana Hargunani, MD, OHA chief medical officer. “We are grateful for the partnerships we have with federal and local partners to make a difference in the lives of Oregonians affected by opioid use disorder. While we continue to work on prevention strategies, we recognize that people who are struggling need access to effective treatment.”

Opioid treatment programs are state and federally licensed facilities that provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) such as methadone, in conjunction with counseling services. MAT treats withdrawal symptoms without giving patients the euphoric high that is associated with heroin and other opioids. Evidence has shown that MAT is highly effective in reducing relapse rates and increasing the likelihood of long-term recovery.

Adapt OTP, which currently operates a clinic in Roseburg, is slated to open the Oregon coast’s first opioid treatment program this summer. Oregon Recovery and Treatment Center, which has locations in Bend and Grants Pass, recently opened a new location in Springfield and is preparing to open another in Pendleton. It also plans to build treatment capacity in Klamath Falls and Newport.

“We often hear from Oregonians affected by the opioid epidemic in rural Oregon, where treatment is not available in many counties,” said Dwight Holton, executive director of Lines for Life, a regional nonprofit dedicated to preventing substance abuse and suicide. “We look forward to being able to tell more people good news – that help is available.”

ORTC has agreed to use the grant funds to engage in outreach work to build capacity in their service areas, including naloxone training and distribution, community outreach and MAT training for health care providers. Adapt’s grant funds are supporting outreach efforts and staffing resources.

“At a time when so many Oregonians suffer from the ravages of opioid addiction, these new clinics will help provide the treatment proven effective to combat this epidemic devastating families statewide,” Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said. “Ensuring that people have access to the treatment they need is the smart way to fight this epidemic, and I look forward very much to these clinics playing a key role in this public health battle.”

This press release was provided by the Oregon Health Authority.