PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s controversial Measure 110, the 2020-approved measure that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of hard drugs in favor of treatment, is facing particular scrutiny from Marion County. So much so that their board recently passed a resolution supporting a repeal of the measure altogether.
Along with decriminalization, the measure was also meant to expand access to addiction treatment.
The resolution states that since the measure passed, there has been an increase in overdose deaths in Oregon. In 2020, there were 585 overdoses, the following year 917 and in 2022 1,161 died of overdose deaths.
“It’s a failed policy,” said Marion County Commissioner Colm Willis. “I think when Oregonians voted for Measure 110, we all kind of sort of had the same idea, which is people who are addicted to drugs should get treatment. They shouldn’t go to prison every time. And unfortunately, Measure 110 has made it harder for us to get treatment to the people who need it most.”
During public testimony, many people spoke out against the measure. Matthew Maceira, Executive Director of Be Bold Street Ministries, who was involved with drugs for 27 years, says it increases crime.
“It hasn’t reduced crime, it’s increased it” claimed Maceira. “Because a part of it, for me too, when I’m using methamphetamines, I’m committing crimes and committing acts of violence. That goes hand and hand with the drug world. Where the drug world is allowed to operate, safety is never a component.”
The state legislature recently created a committee to come up with solutions to the drug problem and provide Measure 110 oversight. State Representative Kevin Mannix is in favor of repealing the measure.
“It’s a real issue. For many of us enabling addiction as opposed to addressing the addiction. Let’s not just keep helping people keep addicted, let’s see what we can do to get them out of addiction in some positive way.” said State Rep. Mannix in House District 21.
While the board unanimously approved the resolution, repealing the voter-approved measure is up to the state.
If the state legislature doesn’t take action, a group is working on a petition to get it on the November ballot.