Measure won’t fix addiction services
From the Portland Tribune – October 22, 2020
Jim O’Rourke is a Portlander in long-term recovery from addiction, a parent to adult children who have struggled with addictions, and defense attorney for people arrested for crimes related to their addictions. Visit VoteNoOn110.com for more information.
Oregon is better off with the system we have now, not the promises within this measure.
Measure 110 would decriminalize the possession of lethal doses of addictive drugs for children, teens, and adults in Oregon — in the midst of our addiction crisis. On top of this, over the next three years it would take away $56 million from addiction treatment and prevention, and take away $90 million from schools. And despite false promises, it would not guarantee the creation of a single new treatment bed.
If Measure 110 passes, a 15-year-old could get caught with just under 1 gram of heroin, 2 grams of meth, 2 grams of cocaine, 12 grams of psilocybin, 40 user units of oxycodone, 40 user units of methadone, 40 user units of LSD, or 5 user units of MDMA in their pocket — and the only consequences would either be paying a $100 fine or getting a health assessment.
They could hide either from their parents.
Whereas right now, if a kid — or an adult — gets caught with drugs in Oregon, they are offered state-funded treatment. This is crucial because most people struggling with addiction can’t stop using drugs on their own. If they could, they wouldn’t be addicted. In fact, recent studies show that more than 80% of opioid and meth users refused treatment when it was offered. But many people in long-term recovery credit the external motivation of court diversion programs with “saving my life” or “rescuing me from myself.”
One of the hardest things in my career has been sitting in living rooms across from parents whose children are caught in addiction. They tell me about how they’ve tried everything. Tried sending their kids to treatment. Tried talking with them. Tried begging them. And nothing worked. At the end of the conversation they would say, “I just wish he’d get arrested so he could get help.”
Some of those situations ended with funerals. Some ended in the emergency room.
But many kids do get the juvenile court intervention they needed, do get treatment, and do turn their lives around. Court interventions save lives.
READ MORE – Measure won’t fix addiction services
Paige Clarkson, Marion County District Attorney
As a District Attorney, I oppose Measure 110. But as a mother, I am outraged by it. Measure 110 would decriminalize, dangerous drugs like meth, Oxycodone and heroin – all without adding even ONE new treatment bed.
Please join me, and so many other law enforcement officials – and parents – in voting NO on Measure 110.
Under Measure 110, kids could hide hard drug use from parents
From the Newport News Times – October 22, 2020
Jerome Grant is a Depoe Bay City Council member and local restaurant owner. Visit VoteNoOn110.com for more information.
As a father who lost a son to fentanyl overdose, I strongly oppose Measure 110.
The measure would decriminalize the possession of lethal doses of addictive drugs for children and adults in Oregon — in the midst of our addiction crisis.
If Measure 110 passes, a 15 year old could get caught with just under one gram of heroin, two grams of meth, two grams of cocaine, 12 grams of psilocybin, 40 user units of oxycodone (which is often cut with unknown amounts of fentanyl), 40 user units of methadone, 40 user units of LSD, or five user units of MDMA in their pocket — and the only consequences would either be paying a $100 fine or getting a health assessment.
They could hide either from their parents.
Having a child walk away without their parents knowing they’re in trouble — and I don’t mean with the law, I mean with their life — terrifies me.
Marijuana is one thing. But the drugs Measure 110 would decriminalize can be a death sentence. To make those drugs OK to possess, especially for a kid, will make them seem OK to try. With addictive drugs, experimentation can easily lead to addiction, and as too many Oregon parents know, addiction can lead to unspeakably tragic loss.
Measure 110 also takes away a key pathway to addiction treatment and recovery: court intervention.
As a parent, a doctor and former Governor, I urge Oregonians to vote “no” on Ballot Measure 110. I understand that a central motivation behind this ballot measure is to help reverse the disaster caused by the War on Drugs, which incarcerated people suffering from addiction and had a disproportionate impact on Black and Indigenous people and other communities of color. I agree with this goal, but Measure 110, as written, makes it more difficult to treat the underlying addiction that leads to drug use in the first place.
Oregon is in the midst of an addiction crisis, in no small part because of the failed War on Drugs, which stigmatized addiction as a crime instead of the disease that it is. We have the third-highest untreated addiction rate in the country, and consistently rank near the bottom in access to treatment. At the same time, the social isolation, economic stress and anxiety from COVID-19 have led many Oregonians to self-medicate with addictive drugs.
Today, those arrested for illegal drug possession in Oregon are offered state-funded treatment services through diversion programs, including drug courts. Measure 110 would eliminate this invaluable tool by reducing the possession of highly addictive drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and oxycodone to a “violation,” which means the court will no longer have the ability to offer people the choice to pursue treatment. It also means that a teenager caught in possession of heroin or meth will only receive a ticket, which in many counties means that parents won’t be informed of their child’s drug use.
Measure 110 won’t increase drug treatment
Medford Mail Tribune editorial
No one can deny that Oregon has a problem with drug addiction, and more treatment is needed to address it. Ballot Measure 110 sounds like a rational approach that will stop sending addicts to jail and get them into treatment instead, but it won’t.
The measure would decriminalize the possession of user quantities of illegal drugs, defined as 1 gram or less of heroin, 2 grams or less of cocaine and methamphetamine, less than 1 gram of MDMA, 40 doses or less of LSD, 12 grams or less of psilocybin, 40 doses or less of methadone and 40 pills or less of oxycodone. Those cited would have the choice of paying a $100 fine or enter treatment.
The measure would divert at least $57 million in marijuana tax proceeds to set up “Addiction and Recovery Centers” around the state. That money currently goes to schools (40%), state mental health, alcoholism and drug services (20%) and local governments (20%). The Oregon State Police gets 15%, and the Oregon Health Authority 5%.
All those recipients would get less money if 110 passes; the State School Fund would lose an estimated $73 million in the next biennium.
If all that money were being spent to increase the number of treatment beds available in the state or pay the cost of residential treatment for those who cannot afford it, that would be one thing. But that’s not what would happen. The Addiction and Recovery Centers would provide screening and referral, connecting addicts with treatment services that already exist.
The problem is, there aren’t enough treatment slots available now, and those that do exist have waiting lists weeks or months long. That’s assuming the addicts in question have private insurance to pay the cost. Medicaid — the Oregon Health Plan — doesn’t cover residential treatment.
Measure 110 is backed by the Oregon Nurses Association, physician groups, labor unions and religious leaders. The campaign is financed by the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which spent $3.5 million. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife donated $500,000 from their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to revamping the criminal justice system.
Opponents include Oregon Recovers, a statewide coalition of people in recovery, the Oregon Council on Behavioral Health, which lobbies on behalf of treatment providers, and The Oregon District Attorney’s Association.
There is a widely held perception that the criminal justice system routinely locks up drug users just for using. The reality is much different — especially in Jackson County, where the jail is so overcrowded that nonviolent offenders are rarely lodged for more than a few hours. And treatment is already offered to drug offenders. Jackson County’s Drug Court has been a leader in diverting people with drug addictions away from jail and toward recovery programs.
More drug treatment is definitely needed, especially for those who cannot afford it. But Measure 110, no matter how well-intentioned, won’t deliver that.
We recommend a no vote on Ballot Measure 110.
Measure 110 will take away addiction treatment and is bad for kids
October 14, 2020 – The Oregonian
By Heather Jefferis and Se-ah-dom Edmo, published in The Oregonian
Measure 110 would decriminalize the possession of potentially lethal doses of addictive drugs—including heroin, meth, and cocaine—for children, teens and adults in Oregon, in the midst of our addiction crisis. On top of this, it would take away an estimated $56 million from addiction treatment and prevention, and $90 million from schools over the next three years. And despite lofty promises, it would not guarantee the creation of a single new treatment bed.
Which is why we were so disappointed to see a “yes” endorsement from The Oregonian/OregonLive Editorial Board, grounded in a misunderstanding of the measure’s basic provisions.
Edmo is a descendant of the Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce and Yakama Tribes, and co-chair of the Oregon Recovers advocacy group led by people in recovery from addiction. Jefferis is executive director of the Oregon Council for Behavioral Health, a substance use and mental health treatment provider association.
Guest View: Measure 110 full of false promises
By Patricia Perlow and Chris Wig
Eugene Register Guard – October 14, 2020 – PAYWALLED
Measure 110 on the November ballot is a risky gamble that wagers the lives of Oregonians experiencing addiction by decriminalizing lethal, addictive drugs for children, teens and adults. Oregon is in the middle of an opioid and methamphetamine addiction crisis, and Measure 110 would take away $56 million from addiction treatment and prevention — as well as defunding $90 million from Oregon schools.
You read that right. If Measure 110 is passed by the voters, teenagers in Oregon could be caught with heroin or methamphetamine in their pocket and the only consequences would be paying a $100 fine or attending a health assessment, either of which could be easily concealed from their parents.
Not only would Measure 110 essentially legalize addictive drugs, it would also dismantle the only pathway to addiction recovery for many Oregon youth and adults: court diversion programs.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The treatment options the measure provides will be primarily funded by diverting marijuana tax revenues away from education, alcohol/drug abuse prevention and law enforcement. (See Financial Impact State HERE)
Most importantly, Pope Francis has unequivocally stated that drug use is incompatible with human life. In a 2014 address to the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome, he said,
“Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise. To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem. Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called ‘recreational drugs’, are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.”
The Oregon Catholic Conference firmly supports treatment and rehabilitation for all those suffering from addictions. We encourage you to get behind solid programs and NOT accept an initiative that promotes the use of illegal drugs.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin opposes the measure.
“I think having some drug addiction treatment and recovery programs is a responsible action, but I think decriminalizing the possession of certain scheduled drugs is very irresponsible,” he said.
While the measure’s supporters anticipate lowered law enforcement costs if it passes, Hanlin doesn’t.
While they might spend less time investigating drug possession crimes, 80% or 90% of the county’s property crimes are related to drug addiction, he said.
“In my mind decriminalizing the possession of drugs is only going to allow or cause more people to use, because there’s no longer a fear of getting caught or getting in trouble,” he said.
And that, he believes, would lead to a larger number of people with addictions.
He also said after marijuana was legalized, police saw an increase in people driving under the influence of marijuana.
“Now we’re going to have to worry about these users of psilocybin mushrooms and heroin and all the other illicit or controlled substances that are out there that people may partake in and get behind the wheel of a car,” he said.
ADAPT Director Greg Brigham said he supports the goals of the measure, but he doesn’t think the proposal will work. He’s worried it would cause a disruption in the pathway to treatment.
Many people currently receive substance use disorder treatment as a result of their involvement in the criminal justice system, he said.
“My main concern with the proposition is that if we remove consequences of drug use without building other pathways to treatment, the net result will be fewer people getting treatment, and thus fewer in recovery,” he said.
He does not believe the ballot box is the place to fix a problem like substance abuse.
“I really think it’s a complex enough matter and important enough that it needs to be worked through the regular legislative process so the issue can be properly studied and the strategy can be vetted to achieve the goal,” he said.
Public not ready to lift penalty for possession of narcotics – Yamhill County News Register, October 5 2020
We are recommending approval of all but [measure] 110. The most extensive and controversial of the lot, it would make Oregon the first state to decriminalize simple possession of Schedule II narcotics, including heroin, meth and cocaine.
In addition to the referendum and initiative process, Oregon has previously led the way on officeholder recall, compulsory school attendance, public beaches, scenic waterways, bottle deposits, urban growth boundaries, vote by mail, assisted suicide and both decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. But we don’t feel it’s ready to downgrade the penalty for possession of narcotics from Class A misdemeanor to Schedule E violation — traffic ticket level.
A case can be made for decriminalizing possession, while retaining stiff criminal penalties for manufacture, distribution and sale. The central point is this:
The public would be best-served by a system sending users into treatment and pushers into prison. Cutting the user base would free prison space, reduce the drug market and deter drug-associated property crime.
Officers would still be free to bring criminal charges against people caught with amounts above the user level, or with baggies, scales, precursor chemicals and other items associated with commercial trade. And to fund treatment, the measure would funnel marijuana tax revenue and prison savings into expanded addiction treatment and recovery efforts.
However, statewide decriminalization has never been tested. And it seems a radical, counterintuitive approach on its face.
We think it would be wiser to test this theory in smaller, more tightly controlled venues first. Assuming results were positive, that could lay the groundwork for an educational initiative introducing the concept more broadly.
Drug abuse and addiction are huge problems in Oregon. Methamphetamine, opiates (heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone and others) and cocaine damage and kill thousands of people every year. Few of us reach adulthood without knowing someone whose life was destroyed by drug or alcohol addiction. Some of us have been victims of crime in which the perpetrator was seeking a way to fund their addiction.
There is considerable tension between those who believe that dangerous drugs should be illegal, with criminal penalties for their possession versus those who believe use of these drugs is primarily an addiction and thus a mental health and behavioral health issue. Ideally, we should have a behavioral health system that can intervene before the criminal justice system needs to.
The Oregon Catholic Conference advocates and promotes the pastoral teaching of Oregon’s Catholic Bishops (Archdiocese of Portland and the Diocese of Baker) on various issues at the state and national levels in service to the Catholic people of Oregon.
A full statement from the archdiocese is forthcoming.
“We know that decriminalizing drug possession will significantly increase the number of child neglect and abuse cases in Oregon. It will also dramatically increase the number of drug-addicted young people and lead to more overdose deaths. By definition, addicts will not seek help unless they have no other choice. Oregon’s drug laws are rehabilitative, not punitive in nature, and we must not take away our courts’ ability to order drug treatment.”
The Oregon Association Chiefs of Police urge you to VOTE “NO” ON MEASURE 110.
The Oregon Council on Behavioral Health has distributed their opposition to Ballot Measure 110.
Oregon Council for Behavioral Health is Oregon’s largest association of alcohol and drug treatment organizations with 44 licensed agencies providing public service every part of the state. OCBH’s focus is to promote, develop, and maintain the highest quality community programs and services for the treatment of problems related to behavioral health and to promote the recovery of Oregonians with substance use disorder and/or psychiatric disabilities.
Member Organizations of the OCBH include –
Portland Metro Area
4th Dimension Recovery Center
Bridges to Change
Cascadia Behavioral Health
Cedar Hills Hospital
Central City Concern
Cognitive Enrichment Concepts
DePaul Treatment Centers
Lines for Life
Morrison Child & Family Services
Oregon Trail Recovery
Sequoia Mental Health Services, Inc.
Volunteers of America Oregon
WomenFirst Transition & Referral Center
Columbia Care Services
Community Counseling Solutions
Eastern Oregon Recovery Center
New Directions NW
Pioneer Guest Home
Milestones Family Recovery
Oregon Recovery Behavioral Health
Polk Adolescent Day Treatment Center
The Janus House
Willamette Family Treatment Services
ORTC (Bend Treatment Centers)
Addictions Recovery Center
OnTrack Rogue Valley
Options for Southern Oregon
Phoenix Counseling Center
Transformations Wellness Center
Alano Club of Portland
Oregon Family Support Network
Sequoia Mental Health
WomenFirst Transition & Referral Center
In a press statement on September 25, the organization stated, “The ballot measure is authored and almost entirely financed by the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York pressure group known for raising money to legalize drugs. The organization’s intention is not to help people get sober and sane, but to legalize harmful and dangerous drugs and dismantle what drug treatment is available in Oregon now.”
Oregon Recovers – the state’s largest nonprofit organization representing people in recovery from addiction – has endorsed Vote No On 110.
In a letter written to supporters on September 24 and signed by Executive Director Mike Marshall and board co-chairs Tony Verzina and Se-ah-dom Edmo, and board secretary Teri Morgan, says “Measure 110, as promoted by its political consultants, is full of false promises. Despite campaign rhetoric targeting communities of color, the truth is that the ballot measure sets no racial nor restorative justice goals. Additionally, it offers no specific guarantees that Oregonians suffering from addiction will have access to the culturally-specific support which is critical to an individual’s recovery. We can all agree that no one should be saddled with a criminal record due to their addiction. But nor should any Oregonian be saddled with active addiction and Measure 110 will remove the possibility of rapid access to treatment for more than 3700 Oregonians each year.”
Oregon Recovers is an inclusive statewide coalition comprised of people in recovery–and their friends and family—uniting to transform Oregon healthcare to ensure world-class prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for Oregonians suffering from the disease of addiction.
Some local groups worry Measure 110 will hurt efforts to raise the cost of alcohol to support more options.
The initiative to decriminalize the possession of personal amounts of drugs and boost funding for drug treatment in Oregon is in a promising political position.
So far, the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance has put about $2.4 million into the campaign for what would be the first statewide law of its kind, and no well-funded opponent has emerged.
Behind the scenes, however, backers of the measure have been engaged in tense conversations with officials from the state’s treatment and recovery communities over the measure’s impact and potential changes. And one key, Black-led group that works to promote racial equity has at least temporarily pulled its endorsement.
Vote No on 110 Campaign Objects to the ballot measure Explanatory Statement – July 21, 2020 (PDF)
Oregon Voters To Decide On Drug Decriminalization, Campaign Finance Limits – OPB July 2, 2020
Oregon Voters Could Decide This Year Whether To Decriminalize Drugs – OPB February 20, 2020
Letter to Oregon Secretary of State: Objections to the proposed ballot title – Margaret Olney of Bennett Hartman, LLP – October 2019
This letter discusses the impact of Measure 110 on Oregon Schools.
Letter to Oregon Secretary of State: : Two objections to the proposed ballot title – William Porter, District Attorney of Tillamook County – October 2019
This email states how people with prior drug convictions might be affected by Measure 110.
The certified ballot summary for Measure 110 is as follows:
Measure mandates establishment/ funding of ‘addiction recovery centers’ (centers) within each existing coordinated care organization service area by October 1, 2021; centers provide drug users with triage, health assessments, treatment, recovery services. To fund centers, measure dedicates all marijuana tax revenue above $11,250,000 quarterly, legislative appropriations, and any savings from reductions in arrests, incarceration, supervision resulting from the measure. Reduces marijuana tax revenue for other uses. Measure reclassifies personal non-commercial possession of certain drugs under specified amount from misdemeanor or felony (depending on person’s criminal history) to Class E violation subject to either $100 fine or a completed health assessment by center. Oregon Health Authority establishes council to distribute funds/ oversee implementation of centers. Secretary of State audits biennially. Other provisions.
The full text of Measure 110 can be read here.