Oregon voters want to walk-back legalization of hard drugs

Over 60 percent said drug addition, homelessness, and crime had become worse in the time since the policy of decriminalization was adopted.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
In 2020, voters in Oregon passed Measure 110, which decriminalized the possession of certain drugs in small quantities for personal use and shuffled revenue from cannabis taxes to resources aimed at helping addicts. Since it went into effect the following year, crime and substance use has not gone down as intended, and as a result, residents are calling for a reintroduction of criminal penalties for users.

A poll conducted by DHM Research earlier this year revealed that more than 60 percent of Oregonians want to see the decriminalization aspect of Measure 110 repealed, though support for the use of cannabis taxes to fund treatment programs has maintained popularity.

According to the poll, 51 percent of those surveyed said they believed Measure 110 has been bad for Oregon. Of those, 33 percent deemed it "very bad." Over 60 percent said drug addiction, homelessness, and crime had become worse in the time since it was adopted.

Rural voters who identified as Republicans were more likely than their Democratic urban neighbors to believe that the policy has had a negative impact on the state, though a sizable proportion of every demographic said as much.

The poll, conducted via online survey among 500 Oregon voters between April 24 and 30, also found that drug addiction and mental health were viewed as more likely root causes of homelessness than access to affordable housing.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, law enforcement officers across the state have found that contrary to what was expected, doing away with the threat of jail time has not resulted in more addicts seeking help.

Since 2021, while 6,000 tickets have been issued for drug possession, only 92 people have gotten in touch with the helpline to complete an assessment that would connect them with the necessary assistance. Those who fail to call are supposed to receive a $100 fine, however that is hardly ever enforced.

Overdoses have also continued to rise, jumping 23 percent between May 2021-2022 and May 2022-2023 to 1,500 statewide.
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