MEDFORD, Ore--- A small rally in Medford on Sunday pushed for the passing of Oregon Measure 110. The main goal of the measure according to "Yes on Measure 110" is to shift Oregon to a treatment-first, health-based approach to drug addiction.
If passed in the upcoming election, the measure would decriminalize possession of some amounts of controlled substances by adults and juveniles including: heroin (1 gram or less), cocaine (2 grams or less), methamphetamine (2 grams or less), MDMA (less than 1 gram or 5 pills), LSD (less than 40 user units), psilocybin (less than 12 grams), methadone (less than 40 user units) and oxycodone (less than 40 pills, tablets, or capsules). Instead, these crimes would become a Class E violation. They would result in a maximum penalty of a $100 fine or completion of a health assessment with an addiction treatment professional.
Some that are in favor of passing the bill are also focused on futures that can be destroyed by drug crimes.
"Sometimes, it is one mistake and we give them a record that they take with them that will create problems for getting a job, getting housing, for moving forward," said nurse practitioner Lauri Hoagland.
Like any ballot measure, not everyone is on board.
"We have no business making it easy for children to get drugs and that is what this does," said Talent resident Francine Lowenberg. "I know they are talking about treatment but I have read the measure and I am not seeing anything where there is any real treatment options."
Former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber also came out against the measure on Sunday.
“As a parent, a doctor and former Governor, I urge Oregonians to vote “no” on Ballot Measure 110,” Kitzhaber wrote in a statement. “Oregon is in the midst of an addiction crisis, in no small part because of the failed War on Drugs, which stigmatized addiction as a crime instead of the disease that it is. We have the third-highest untreated addiction rate in the country, and consistently rank near the bottom in access to treatment. At the same time, the social isolation, economic stress and anxiety from COVID-19 have led many Oregonians to self-medicate with addictive drugs.”
Kitzhaber is also concerned about parents being left in the dark if their kids are found with drugs.
It also means that a teenager caught in possession of heroin or meth will only receive a ticket, which in many counties means that parents won’t be informed of their child’s drug use," said Kitzhaber.