December 20, 2022

Merkley, Wyden Announce $3 Million Coming to OHSU for Overdose Prevention Research

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced that Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) is expected to receive $3.17 million over five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effectiveness of different harm reduction strategies at preventing overdoses and ways to expand access to these services for diverse communities. 

“The impact of the opioid crisis across Oregon’s communities is immeasurable,” said Senator Merkley. “This grant to OHSU to study overdose prevention will have a big impact in our continued fight to beat this epidemic—especially for Oregon’s rural communities and communities of color. I will keep working to deliver resources, solutions, and support to address the needs of those suffering and their communities.” 

“Far too many Oregonians and their loved ones know the anguish and danger of opioid use,” Wyden said. “These federal resources earned by OHSU will put the powers of research and science to good use, providing the opportunity to bring relief to communities under assault from this life-and-death epidemic. And I’ll continue battling on every front to reduce opioid abuse and addiction throughout Oregon.”

This NIH funding is one of 10 grants awarded nationwide and is provided through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® (HEAL) Initiative, which aims to speed scientific solutions to stem the nationwide opioid public health crisis. OHSU’s study will evaluate two interventions—contingency management, an evidence-based behavioral intervention for the treatment of a variety of substance use disorders; and the identification of personal harm-reduction goals with peer support—at community-based organizations in rural Oregon, with the goal of increasing the availability and effectiveness of harm reduction services.