On the November 2020 ballot there is a measure that we would like to share some information with you. Measure 110, official titled Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act looks to remove criminal penalties for low-level possession of all drugs, which currently is classified as a misdemeanor, and replacing it with a fine. The fines can be waived if the person charged is evaluated at an Addiction Recovery Center. Currently in Oregon one in 11 Oregonians is addicted to drugs and one to two Oregonians die of drug overdose every day. This measure, if passed, will greatly expand access to drug treatment and recovery services for anyone who wants and needs them, and this will be paid for by existing marijuana tax money.
Besides providing more drug treatment this measure will also help reduce disparities in drug arrests and convictions. An independent government research that was released by the Oregon Sectary of State and was conducted by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission found that if passed convictions of Black and Indigenous Oregonians would drop by 95%. The drop in convections will also impact collateral consequences like difficulties in finding employment, loss of access to student loans for education, difficulties in obtaining housing, restrictions on professional licensing. This measure will also allow the police to focus their time and attention on other crimes, like missing children, unsolved murders, and a long backlog of cold cases.
More importantly, our favorite part of this measure, is that is provides funds for people to attend drug addiction treatment and recovery programs. According to mentalhealth.gov one in four adults living with serious mental health problem like, depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders, also have a substance use problem. Currently in Oregon the waitlist to get treatment can be months long and in some rural counties there is little to no treatment at all. By the time the treatment center is available to start working with people they could be in jail, or worse dead from overdosing. Additional anyone who wants treatment, not just those who have been fined for drug possession, will be able to attend an Addiction Recovery Center to be assessed for their treatment needs.
Finally Measure 110 has been endorsed by more than 100 different organizations from across the state! Organizations like Oregon School Psychologists’ Association, Oregon Nurses Association, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Outside in, and ACLU Oregon just to name a few. Please visit voteyeson110.org for more information on measure 110 or if you wish to get involved.