Oregon’s Opioid Settlement Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Board has voted to allocate $17 million towards a statewide data system and harm reduction resources.
The money is part of about $325 million expected from multi-state legal settlements in 2022 involving pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and distributors that either produced, sold or distributed opioids.
In 2022, the Oregon Legislature created the OSPTR Board, administered by the Oregon Health Authority and overseen by a board of health policy experts and government representatives. The board will administer the state’s 45% share of opioid funds exclusively for addressing substance use.
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Under House Bill 4098, the OSPTR Board can use the money to support statewide or regional programs identified in settlement agreements or applicable judgments. Additional funding from at least five other opioid-related settlements is anticipated, according to the OHA.
The remaining 55% will go to local cities and counties with populations larger than 10,000.
House Bill 4098 allocated up to $4 million for a statewide data system that will collect, analyze and publish data on substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services. The board’s data system subcommittee proposed setting the cap at the bill’s maximum as they determine how the data system will work.
This doesn’t necessarily mean all the money will be used, said David Hart, chair of the data system subcommittee, at the March 1 meeting.
“We must do this before we do anything else,” Hart said. “We are not yet in a position to determine the full scope of a data system. It’s going to have to be built out.”
The subcommittee’s proposal was meant to create the most amount of flexibility possible as the board endeavors to create the new system. He added more meetings will be necessary to determine the final product, and that this proposal is “a start to a plan.”
An additional $13 million will go toward the Save Lives Oregon Harm Reduction Clearinghouse to support the group’s effort to provide supplies for harm reduction such as:
- Overdose prevention supplies including naloxone.
- Wound care supplies.
- Safer-use supplies for people who use drugs.
- Personal containers specifically for needles and sharp items.
In this context, harm reduction refers to a swath of public health approaches designed to reduce additional negative consequences of drug use, such as overdose deaths and infections like HIV and hepatitis C. The SLO supplies are free to qualifying partner organizations that serve people who use drugs.
Board members will continue discussing the data system and clearinghouse in upcoming monthly meetings in April, May and June.
Those who are part of an organization looking for harm-reduction resources can apply for the SLO harm-reduction clearinghouse at savelivesoregon.org/apply-form/.
Contact reporter Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick at Tatiana@registerguard.com or 541-521-7512, and follow her on Twitter @TatianaSophiaPT.