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Oregon Backpedals on Drug Decriminalization Amid Rising Concerns

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Clear Facts

  • Oregon has reintroduced criminal penalties for possession of small quantities of hard drugs, reversing a previous experiment with decriminalization.
  • Measure 110, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of any drug, including hard drugs such as fentanyl, is being rolled back as public opinion turns against it.
  • The new legislation, signed into law by Governor Tina Kotek, makes personal use possession a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail.

After an unsuccessful attempt at drug decriminalization, Oregon has returned hard drug possession to the status of a criminal offense.
Governor Tina Kotek signed a bill on Monday, criminalizing personal use possession once again with the potential of a six-month jail term.

The introduced legislation undoes the effects of Measure 110, which was backed by approximately 58% of Oregon voters in 2020.
Measure 110 eliminated criminal charges for having limited quantities of any substance, even potent drugs like fentanyl.

Criminal penalties were replaced with a maximum fine of $100, often unenforced.
Offenders could have their fine waived by contacting a hotline for an addiction assessment. However, in the first year following the law’s enactment, only 1% of individuals cited for drug possession took advantage of this provision.

Measure 110 has seen its popularity wane since its implementation as citizens confront the realities of public drug use.
A DMH Research survey conducted in May, two years into the measure, showed over 60% of voters believed that decriminalization had exacerbated drug addiction, homelessness, and crime in Oregon. A combined 63% expressed strong support or some interest in the re-criminalization of hard drugs.

Oregon’s drug fatalities, particularly those related to fentanyl, have surged alarmingly.

“Fatal drug overdoses in Oregon have spiked, driven by the fentanyl crisis. The state is on track for 1,250 overdose deaths last year, a stark rise from the 280 people who died of an overdose back in 2019.”

The drug crisis is particularly evident in Portland, where drug users openly inject drugs.
In response, the Portland City Council passed a ban on the public use of hard drugs in September.

Despite city-wide regulations, Portland’s new rules remained uncertain while state-level decriminalization persisted.
Portland’s Mayor, Ted Wheeler, supports the state’s new law, which will take effect on September 1.

“People are exhausted from feeling like they’re under siege. They want order restored to their environment,” Wheeler stated.

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The new state law doesn’t only reinstate criminal penalties for drug possession. It also urges law enforcement agencies to develop programs that steer drug users towards addiction treatment and mental health services rather than the criminal justice system, suggesting a more holistic approach to addressing drug challenges.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. M.I.Childs

    April 4, 2024 at 7:04 pm

    Holistically speaking any penalty for the use of heroin,or fentynal that doesn’t include prison time along with rehab treatment is a waste of time and money. Executing the offender would be more humane
    then just drug rehab alone for the junkie and society.

  2. CandygramForMongo

    April 5, 2024 at 7:42 am

    Let’s get everyone hopped up on hard drugs, legally, and then change the laws to make all the hard drug users that WE created all criminals again. They use the same lame tactics for gun control. Get a bunch of stupid, ignorant democrats to go on shooting sprees, and then blame everyone who owns a gun. LOSERS!!!!!

  3. Master

    April 5, 2024 at 11:37 am

    Since Portland and the whole west side of the state is just an extension of communist California, it’s not surprising that they were trying to decriminalize drug use and help the addicted to continue. Since the commicrat government of the state will never be changed until the voters there recognize the communist/socialist mentality of the California idiots that moved there.

  4. Annette

    April 5, 2024 at 12:01 pm

    The more dead libs the better no one will miss them

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