PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Oregon legislature created a new joint committee aiming to tackle the state’s drug addiction crisis.
The bipartisan Joint Interim Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response is tasked with keeping addiction treatment services accessible, ensuring law enforcement has tools to keep communities safe and will review policies — including drug decriminalization Measure 110.
Officials said on Friday the committee will make sure the measure’s outcomes are “in-line with voters’ intent of connecting people to treatment instead of criminal punishment for low-level possession.”
“The goal of this committee is simple: to save lives and make our communities safer,” Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) said in a statement. “Oregonians are being harmed every day by this crisis and we all have a part to play in finding a path forward. It is a complex problem that demands a comprehensive solution and we are committed to working toward a solution this session and into the long term.”
House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) added, “everyone has a family member or friend that has been impacted by addiction or behavioral health challenges.” He furthered, “what we’re seeing in our streets and our communities is unacceptable. As leaders, it’s our job to provide oversight of our current crisis-to-care system and make sure we’re getting the outcomes we intended: a humane approach to addiction that centers the individual’s needs.”
Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton) and Representative Jason Kropf (D-Bend) will co-chair the committee, which is meeting for the first time in the coming weeks.
The new committee comes after an Emerson College Polling survey found a majority of surveyed Oregon voters support repealing Measure 110. Additionally, Oregon lawmakers announced they will hold hearings to consider changes to local drug policies, including Measure 110.