PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The state is calling on the Oregon Health Authority after an audit from the state’s Secretary of State Office uncovered difficulties in the implementation of Measure 110 which decriminalizes possession of hard drugs.
The audit reports there needs to be stronger support, clear expectations of roles and expansion of data for the state to better assess the measure’s effectiveness.
According to the report, “Oregon’s approach to addressing this crisis is siloed and fragmented.”
With 58% of the vote, Measure 110 passed in 2020 — making Oregon the first state to decriminalize drug possession. Since gong into effect in February of 2021, officials say the measure has been entrenched in setbacks.
Oregon ranked second in the nation for substance use disorder and 50th in access to treatment in 2020, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Despite this, auditors say it’s still “too early to tell” if the measure is successful or not. Rather, auditors suggest the OHA takes steps to improve the program as the drug crisis continues to plague the state.
“It is plain as day that Oregon’s drug treatment system is failing,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “This is incredibly frustrating for me, and many Oregonians, because treatment is a matter of life and death for people we know. I have a brother in recovery right now. I want to see Measure 110 work.”
Auditors suggest the Oregon Health Authority makes the following changes.
- Address fragmentation: Publish a plan by September 2023 for how the M110 program integrates into the overall behavioral health system in Oregon.
- Ensure that success can be measured: Identify and document gaps that prevent detailed metrics from being implemented that would track the overall effectiveness and impact of M110.
- Create the foundation for a successful grants program: Develop and document policies and procedures for the M110 program, including clear expectations, roles and responsibilities for Oversight and Accountability Council members and OHA staff and greater support for grant applicants and evaluators.
- Seek opportunities to expand collaboration with other stakeholders.
The audit also urges the Oregon Legislature to better address possible risk areas in law.
Measure 110 will undergo two more reports that are expected to be released before 2025.