Measure 110 Update from Rural Organizing Project

In 2020, human dignity leaders across the state helped pass Measure 110 to establish a statewide drug addiction treatment and recovery program funded by the state’s marijuana tax revenue and to decriminalize possession of certain drugs. Thanks to thousands of conversations with neighbors through phone calls, texts, and community events, Oregonians voted yes on Measure 110, agreeing that people suffering from addiction need access to care, not criminal punishment. Now, there’s an intense, well-funded campaign to roll back Measure 110. What’s the truth about the measure’s impact so far, and how should we handle the backlash?

When the measure was passed, Oregon ranked 50th in the nation for drug treatment availability. The Health Justice Recovery Alliance (HJRA) shared in a recent update that since Measure 110 made new services available, voluntary substance use treatment increased by 44% in just six months! HJRA added, “It didn’t work to arrest our way out of this crisis; Measure 110 is showing us that when addiction services are made more accessible, people get the help they need.”

Despite this progress, groups of wealthy business interests want to re-criminalize drug possession. Just last month, the Oregon Capitol Chronicle reported that “the Coalition to Fix and Improve Ballot Measure 110, announced [September 18th] it had filed two ballot initiatives on Tuesday with the Secretary of State’s Office, and has $700,000 in donations to get them on the ballot.” Going back to a state where people are criminalized for addiction like what’s being proposed would take us further away from addressing the root caucus of drug overdoses, returning us to the expensive and ineffective revolving door system of overdoses and arrests that we had before we voted to approve Measure 110.

We’ve also seen news coverage blaming the housing crisis on Measure 110. Truthout reports that “Corporate media outlets like The New York Times are misleading the public on drug decriminalization in Oregon.”

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