OPERA advocates for a legislative agenda that assures Oregonians access to treatment because:

  • Addiction is a treatable and preventable disease.
  • Families and individuals have the right and deserve access to quality services in their community.
  • Prevention and treatment services are a sound investment that saves lives and strengthens families.
  • Partnerships and collaboration are vital to the success of all our efforts.

Our voice unites prevention, education and treatment providers with mainstream health care, other behavioral health and social service providers, criminal justice, state agencies and organizations that will advance our mission and reduce the stigma of substance use disorders.

Our voice increases public awareness of the contribution that prevention and treatment make in creating healthy communities.


OPERA was started in the 1970s in order to bring program and clinical leadership together and provide technical assistance, training and support to each other.    As time went on, it became clear that there was a role for the association as an advocate for the needs of our clients, for evolving practices and the field as a whole.  To accomplish this, we have created significant relationships with state and county governments, and with the legislature.

In the early 1990s when the Oregon Health Plan was created, OPERA was there to assure that substance use disorder treatment was included as a covered benefit.

We are visible not only in Oregon but nationally as well.

What We’ve Accomplished 

  • Rate increases for adult and youth residential treatment
  • Legislation to protect the interests of organizations providing sobering centers
  • Attention to the IMD

Current Challenges

The addiction treatment and prevention system is underfunded and cut off from the mainstream of health care delivery.  While alcohol and drug use problems have been acknowledged as a major driver in health care costs in Oregon, they are often undiagnosed.     Care is fragmented and inadequate because the funding models being used in the public sector  are mostly outdated. There is no uniform system of intervening and triaging to treatment. Innovation and integration are not effective models  and/or   remain underfunded and there has been insufficient weight and prominence in the formulation of our current health policies and practices.

Prevention and treatment saves lives and dollars.