Lawmakers Reverse After Leftist Policies Backfire

In response to increasing drug overdose deaths, a coalition of Democrat lawmakers in Oregon will propose a plan to repeal portions of a historic drug decriminalization statute during the next state legislative session.

Voters in 2020 approved Measure 110, which repealed criminal penalties for possessing small quantities of any narcotics. For instance, a $100 punishment for possessing less than one gram of heroin is greeted with a 100 percent likelihood of being dismissed and is hardly actually enforced.

Reports show the Democrats on the addiction committee of the state legislature introduced a plan on Tuesday that would make small-scale drug possession a low-level misdemeanor in response to mounting public opposition and political backlash from the state’s Republican Party.

Three years ago, 58% of the voters in Oregon adopted Measure 110, which its proponents hailed as a groundbreaking strategy to combat substance abuse by shifting resources away from punishment and toward rehabilitation.

Even senior Democrat legislators who supported the measure said they’re open to reconsidering it following the highest synthetic opioid mortality surge among states that provided figures.

If passed, police could confiscate and penalize the use of specific drugs in public spaces and parks.

Oregon has the largest increase in synthetic fatal overdoses in the country and the third highest among all overdose deaths, according to CDC data.

Proponents say the measures might make drug traffickers easier to prosecute and addiction treatment simpler.

The bill’s details are still being worked out, but it proposes a fine of up to $1,250 or 30 days in prison for “personal use” of any substance other than cannabis and hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Meeting with a substance abuse expert may result in the dismissal of misdemeanor possession charges.

Opponents of Measure 110 argue that the initiative has failed to improve the availability of addiction treatment and has instead contributed to the increase in public drug use.

Criminalizing the use of drugs, according to proponents, would have the opposite effect and injure those already struggling with addiction.