Measure 110 is not a gamble that Oregonians should make. We can all agree that Oregon needs more treatment for those suffering from the crushing devastation of drug addiction. Unfortunately, Measure 110 is advertising itself to be that solution when in reality it will add to the problem. While it claims to “expand treatment and services,” it does no such thing. The largest change this measure will have is the decriminalization of hard drugs.
This means it will no longer be a crime to possess the following: 2 grams of methamphetamine; just less than 1 gram of heroin; 2 grams of cocaine; 40 user units of Oxycodone; 40 user units of LSD; five user units of MDMA (ecstasy); 40 user units of methadone; or 12 grams of psilocybin. What it fails to do is actually increase treatment services and inpatient beds.
This is especially concerning when you know how this would apply to children.
Let’s say your 15-year-old son was caught in possession of 2 grams of methamphetamine. Police would issue him a citation, much like a speeding ticket. It would carry a $100 fine. You as the parent would not be notified. If he simply paid the fine, that would be the end of the case. If he wanted to, he could call the number on the back of the ticket and engage in a health assessment. In this hypothetical, let’s assume the assessment determines your son needs inpatient treatment. He can simply say “No, thank you” and the court will waive the $100 fine and he can go about his business. The most the assessment will do is likely put him on a waiting list to receive treatment that exists now, should he choose to accept help. This whole process could take place without any notification to the parents.
Many supporters of Measure 110 are shocked to learn the law would create no additional treatment beds. There would be no increase in additional counselors, groups or classes to facilitate treatment. The only thing this measure would do is create 16 regional assessment centers that would accept voluntary engagement and then provide information on where the person could go to receive treatment. Assessments are not treatment. Union County does not struggle to have individuals assessed — we struggle with the lack of treatment services. What Oregon needs is an increased number of inpatient treatment beds and an increase in the number of treatment facilities across the state. This measure does not do that.
This is not a grassroots movement by Oregonians for Oregonians. This initiative is funded by a New York-based advocacy group, the Drug Policy Alliance, flooding $3.4 million dollars into the effort. If passed, Oregon would be the first state in the country to try this experiment. Our state does not need to be the guinea pig for an out-of-state-led experiment to “see what happens” when addictive drugs are decriminalized.
The criminal justice system is not perfect, and I fully support programming and services to combat addiction. I am a proud member of the Union County Treatment Court Team, and Union County has a robust treatment court designed to do just that. Many graduates who are in recovery credit the intervention of the multidisciplinary program for providing the motivation and roadmap toward sobriety and a crime-free life. Measure 110 would take away that option for many of our citizens.
Don’t be fooled by the slick language of the advertisements in favor of Measure 110 promising treatment services galore. Look into it yourself and you will see this is a bait and switch that will devastate more families and lose more lives to substance abuse.
As a mother, neighbor and your district attorney, please join me in voting no on Measure 110.
Kelsie Davis McDaniel is the district attorney of Union County.