Gov. Kotek signs bills addressing Oregon’s mental health, addiction issues

SALEM, Ore. (KGW) — Gov. Tina Kotek vowed to make meaningful strides for behavioral health in Oregon on Tuesday. She signed into law six bills that aim to strengthen the state’s response to mental health and substance abuse issues.

“The bills I am signing mark progress towards building a behavioral health continuum of care that incorporates harm reduction, suicide prevention, stronger tools against substance abuse among youth and adults, and improvements to the implementation of Measure 110,” Kotek said to a group of lawmakers and advocates.

Among the bills signed into law, two focus on preventing overdose deaths. House Bill 2395 expands the access of short-acting opioid overdose reversal medications like Narcan and naloxone, making them more readily available in public buildings, stores, police departments and schools.

The second bill, Senate Bill 1043, requires hospitals, sobering and detox facilities to provide two doses of opioid overdose reversal medication to patients when they’re discharged.

“The goal is to help people be healthy and stay alive,”  Kotek said.

Then there’s the bill to fix issues with Measure 110, or HB 2513. The governor’s office said it will strengthen Measure 110 by increasing staffing and improving application processes to speed up approval and get funds out the door, centralizing the support hotline to get people connected to services more efficiently, and improving program data collection and accuracy.

“Voters passed Measure 110. How do we make it function better for people to have support they need in the community?” Kotek said.

There’s also a bill signed into law that requires the Oregon Health Authority, State Board of Education, and Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission to collaborate on developing curricula for school districts related to dangers of synthetic opioids. Gov. Kotek also signed a bill that will provide ongoing funding to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, otherwise known as 9-8-8, in order to improve the statewide system.

“I am eager to press forward on effective implementation of these bills,” Kotek said. “It’s not enough to pass legislation, it’s not enough to have resources allocated. You have to make sure that they work.”

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