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Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced recently that $39.3 million in American Rescue Plan funding is headed to Oregon to support substance abuse treatment and prevention programming, and to strengthen mental health services for Oregonians.

The coronavirus crisis has presented mental health challenges in every community in Oregon—in both rural and urban areas, and among children, young people and seniors.

“The devastation and hardship of this past year have been difficult for all of us,” said Merkley. “Between losing family members and loved ones, to grappling with economic challenges and isolation, so many Oregonians are in need of extra support right now. I’m gratified that this funding will help put that support within reach, and I will continue to do all that I can to secure the resources we need to ensure that all mental and physical health needs of our communities are being met.”

“Mental health and substance abuse challenges for Oregonians throughout our state have only been magnified by this pandemic and its devastating fallout on connections with family, friends and community,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the American Rescue Plan contains this help for Oregon, and I’ll keep battling to secure similar resources to treat mental health and substance abuse with the same focus as physical health.”

 Of the funding, $16.7 million is being allocated by the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program, which aims to help plan, implement, and evaluate activities that prevent and treat substance abuse—especially among pregnant women and  intravenous drug users—and provides early intervention services for Americans living with HIV/AIDS, as well as tuberculosis services.

The remaining $22.6 million is coming to Oregon through the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program, which targets adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbances.

 The funds were authorized by the American Rescue Plan, which Merkley and Wyden helped pass in March 2021.

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