Support Senate Bill 755 To Fund The Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act
Guest contributor, Dr. Barbra Villona – Measure 110 was endorsed by labor unions, professional organizations, and advocacy groups including the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians, and the Oregon Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Unite Oregon, Latino Network, and the Oregon Public Health Association.
Oregonians across the state voted overwhelmingly in favor, passing it by a 17-point margin but the Senate Committee On Judiciary and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation has not yet funded the measure.
Measure 110, The Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act, treats the personal possession of small amounts of recreational drugs, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and opioid pain pills, as a civil violation indicative of a medical problem needing to be treated rather than a crime needing to be punished. Prior to passing of the measure, Oregon state law typically treated possession of small amounts of drugs as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the person’s prior record. Now, the civil violation is subject to a health assessment or a fine of $100.
The manufacturing and selling of these drugs are still crimes. Possession of larger amounts of drugs 2 grams or more of cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin was a felony but has been reduced to a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days of imprisonment and a fine of up to $6,250.
MONEY: SOURCE AND ALLOCATION
According to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, drug possession convictions will be reduced by about 90%. The money saved will be redirected into the new state fund for addiction treatment. The majority of the funding will be reallocation of cannabis tax money which is projected to increase over time.
While no additional treatment beds are added, additional funding and a centralized hotline, (503) 575-2769, will increase access. Current addiction service providers will be designated Addiction and Recovery Centers which will be standardized in each service region to include peer support, case management, and health care referrals. A new committee under the Oregon Health Authority will oversee the Addiction and Recovery Centers and decide how to allocate the fund. The new state fund could also be used to pay for addiction treatment, housing for people with substance use disorder, and harm reduction services like needle exchanges.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Any resident of Oregon can submit Public Written testimony to the Oregon State Legislature in support of Senate Bill 755 (to fund Measure 110). Here is an info sheet from Unite Oregon to get you started. Oral testimony can be very impactful. If you would like to submit Oral Public Testimony, you are encouraged to contact Anna Ford, the United Oregon Community Organizer for the Rogue Valley: firstname.lastname@example.org