PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A group of more than a dozen Oregon lawmakers, addiction specialists and law enforcement personnel spent last week in Portugal. Portugal decriminalized drugs 20 years ago and their experience helped shape Oregon’s Measure 110.
For one, they have a centralized drug agency with an army of health workers dedicated to the problem. They also have designated indoor areas to use drugs, which critics say has led to more overdoses and crime.
Oregonians can see that Oregon’s version isn’t working. Open fentanyl use is visible in communities across the state, especially in Portland. So what are we doing wrong and what can we learn from the successes and failures in Portugal?
KOIN 6 reporter Brandon Thompson caught up with several of those who made the trip, including Republican state Representative Lily Morgan of Grants Pass -one of the biggest critics of Measure 110- Senator Kate Lieber of Beaverton, Representative Rob Nosse of Portland and Portland Police Association president Sgt. Aaron Schmautz.