Report: 9 in 10 opioid addicts don’t get treatment

Sen. Wyden calls on Congress to increase funding for treatment access

Senator Ron Wyden calls on Congress to expand funding for opioid treatment access while speaking at Lines for Life in southwest Portland. October 10, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Senator Ron Wyden was in Portland Monday calling on his fellow lawmakers to raise funding for opioid addiction treatment and prevention programs.

Senator Wyden released a new study showing 9 in 10 Oregonians who are addicted to opioids aren’t receiving treatment, often because they can’t afford it or have been put on a wait-list.

According to the report, 78 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose every day. The report also cited a study saying 1 in 112 Americans suffer from an opioid use disorder, but there are only enough providers to treat 1 in 238.

Earlier this year, Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARE), which provided a framework to address the epidemic, but Senator Wyden says they failed to provide the funding states like Oregon need to expand treatment capacity.

“It is time for Congress to get it’s head out of the sand, get serious about drug treatment, and do more than talk about it when we are seeing lives destroyed,” Senator Wyden said.

The White House has proposed a budget that would grant $920 million dollars for expanding treatment access across the country, including $11 million for the state of Oregon.

If passed, Senator Wyden says Oregon would establish additional treatment centers, expand access to anti-overdoes medication and further train medical personnel.

Congress is currently on recess and will not be back in session until after the November election.