Oregon bill to clear way for more addiction, mental health treatment centers passed both chambers, then died anyway

From the Oregonian Updated: Mar. 13, 2024, 9:03 a.m.|Published: Mar. 11, 2024, 7:30 a.m.

The failure of Oregon's House Bill 4023, designed to alleviate restrictions on the establishment of mental health and substance use treatment centers, highlights a critical need for such facilities in the state. While the bill initially gained traction, particularly with a significant provision added by the Senate, it ultimately stalled in the House before the end of the legislative session. The amendment sought to broaden the permissible locations for treatment centers, addressing challenges posed by local zoning regulations.

Advocates argue that easing such restrictions is essential to expand access to care and combat opposition from communities resistant to hosting these facilities. Despite the setback, there remains optimism for future legislative efforts to address the pressing need for mental health and addiction treatment infrastructure in Oregon. Until then, the development of new facilities will likely continue to be influenced by the willingness of local leaders to navigate community resistance.

Pilot program pairs peers with police to address addiction downtown
A bill to ease restrictions on locating mental health and addiction treatment centers failed on the final day of Oregon's 2024 legislative session. Oregon is desperately short of places where Oregonians can get help to kick drugs or with mental health conditions and without a new law, the drive to create many more beds could run into roadblocks. Vickie Connor/The Oregonian

Key Takeaways

  1. Oregon faces a pressing need for more mental health and substance use treatment centers.
  2. House Bill 4023 aimed to ease restrictions on where these facilities could be built, but it failed to pass in the 2024 legislative session.
  3. The bill initially gained support, passing the House with only one opposing vote and receiving a notable amendment in the Senate.
  4. However, the bill stalled in the House due to concerns over the significant changes made by the Senate, leading to insufficient time for discussion before the session's end.
  5. Advocates argue that easing zoning restrictions is crucial to overcoming community opposition and expanding access to care.
  6. Despite the setback, there is optimism for future legislative efforts to address the need for mental health and addiction treatment infrastructure.
  7. Until further action is taken, the development of new treatment facilities will likely continue to be influenced by local leaders' willingness to confront community resistance.

From the Article

Oregon desperately needs more mental health and substance use treatment centers. But a bill aimed at easing restrictions on where those facilities can be built died in the 11th hour of this year’s legislative session.

House Bill 4023 aimed to prevent local governments from using zoning or land use restrictions to limit where mental health or substance use facilities can be built. It passed the House in February with just one no vote.

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