PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There’s a lot of heat on the Oregon Health Authority when it comes to implementing Measure 110, which decriminalized some drug possession.
A recent state audit couldn’t quite track how millions of dollars given to drug treatment providers have been spent. On Wednesday, a volunteer Oversight and Accountability Council heard an update from the OHA on how the program’s going.
The OHA provided some numbers of people served and how much money has been handed out — but there are still a lot of questions, both from the public and from the council.
According to the health authority, 42,000 people were been helped over the last year, with $32 million handed out to programs that help those with substance abuse.
When it came to services, however, OHA’s presentation revealed that only about 4,000 of those 42,000 people got substance abuse treatment. Instead, most got peer support and other services, which includes housing vouchers, cell phones and money that was spent on more than 150,000 needle exchanges.
When it came to expenditures, the health authority says 42% of the money went to hiring people and 26% to capital investments like buildings and vehicles.
A state auditor told KOIN 6 News this was the first time they were seeing this information –information they had hoped to have had when they did the audit.
“From our understanding, there was little to no work being done around that, clearly since then some additional work has been made and we’d be happy to look at the reporting,” auditor Ian Green said.
The state audit also pointed out the need to know not just how 66 providers spent the money, but also what the results were for things like increased access to substance abuse treatment.
The oversight and accountability council is in charge of giving out $300 million over a 2-year period, with money coming from the tax on cannabis.
With the implementation of Measure 110 facing much criticism, this latest audit is just the first of three that will be done. If you’d like to weigh in with concerns or comments, contact your state lawmaker as the legislature is looking at making possible changes.