Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden comprehensive bill to combat opioid crisis moves closer to President’s desk

September 28, 2018
Press Release

Greg Walden comprehensive bill to combat opioid crisis moves closer to President’s desk

Walden’s SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act clears final House vote in bipartisan fashion 

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s remarks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), Representative Greg Walden’s (R-Hood River) comprehensive legislation to combat the nationwide opioid crisis, cleared a final House vote today as it continues to move forward to the President’s desk. In sweeping bipartisan fashion, Walden’s bill today passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 393-8. 

Representative Walden highlighted how this legislation will help victims and families of the opioid crisis in Oregon, who Walden has met with repeatedly at roundtables throughout the Second District.

“At more than 10 roundtables throughout my district in Oregon, I’ve heard from the everyday people on the front lines of this fight in our communities. They are the victims and families; medical providers and treatment advocates; local law enforcement and first responders; and our neighbors and loved ones. Each of these people puts a name and a face to what I would say is the worst drug epidemic we have ever seen in America – the opioid crisis. I’ve heard from Oregon families. I’ve heard from Mike and Winnie from Grants Pass, who have seen the their loved ones struggle with addiction,” said Walden in a speech on the House floor today. “I’ve heard from Paula, whose two sons and step-son struggle with their opioid addiction today. As a parent, I can only imagine how parents of children with an opioid addiction must feel every time the phone rings.”

Walden shared the story of Grants Pass resident Mike, whose family has been personally impacted by opioid addiction. Mike has attended multiple meetings Walden has held in southern Oregon to discuss solutions to combat the opioid crisis.

Walden also referenced the story of Paula, a mother from Grants Pass, who is a founding member of the Oregon chapter of Families Anonymous, a nationwide program for friends and family members of those struggling with addiction, and whose family has been impacted by opioid abuse.

Walden’s legislation has received wide bipartisan support in both the House and Senate since being introduced. In June, the House passed Walden’s legislation by a vote of 396-14. That bipartisan support continued today.

“H.R. 6 represents the best of bipartisan and bicameral negotiation,” said Representative Richard Neal (D-MA), a top Democrat in the House of Representatives in support of Walden’s legislation. “This indeed is the way policy can and should be done.”

H.R. 6 will help efforts to advance treatment and recovery initiatives, improve prevention, protect our communities, and bolster our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl. This legislation represents the largest Congressional effort to address a single drug crisis in history.

In his closing remarks today, Walden said this legislation will save lives by incorporating the feedback he has heard from Oregonians about how to tackle the opioid crisis from all angles.  

“Seldom are there times when you’re legislating, that you can say that what you’re doing will actually save lives. This is one of those times,” said Walden in his speech today. “Today’s effort is about people like Mike and Winnie, and Paula. It is about a woman I met in Hermiston who had to travel five hours to find a physician who could oversee her treatment on suboxone because no one in the community was available. We helped fix that in this legislation. It is about my friends at Winding Waters in Enterprise, Oregon, who I was with last week with the Sheriff and others who talked about the continued problems and challenges they face, and who have given me great guidance on these and other issues.

“From one end of my district to the other; from one end of the country to the other, we have all listened and we have frankly cried as we have heard the stories of parents who helped their children through addiction only to drop them off at college and only a matter of days later retrieve a body. That’s what brings us together here today. It is their stories that are woven deeply into this legislation. It is because of them that we will make a difference.”

Walden’s legislation now heads to the Senate for a final vote and then to the President’s desk to be signed into law. For more information on H.R. 6, please click here.