A new measure which seeks to establish statewide addiction recovery centers and services has been approved for the ballot in November. The petition, created by the campaign ‘More Treatment: A Better Oregon,’ gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot as of June 30. The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act also calls for the reclassification of “personal, non-commercial possession of most drugs” and the severity of subsequent penalties for possession.
This reclassification does not mean legalizing most drugs, but rather removing the criminal penalty for possessions of small amounts and encouraging treatment over punishment. Anthony Johnson, one of the chief petitioners for the measure, pointed out that most minor drug possession charges disproportionately target Black and Native Oregonians. According to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, in 2019, one arrest per hour was dedicated to cases of simple drug possession. The campaign cites that 1 in 10 Oregonians need, but cannot access, treatment for substance use disorder, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
If approved, the measure would approve around $100 million dollars, sourced primarily from Oregon’s marijuana tax revenue to fund the creation of these programs and recovery centers. If voted in, the measure would also create an advisory council to distribute funds and oversee the recovery and treatment centers.
By Emily Weninger