By Dana Abizaid
Officials in Oregon are considering reversing key provisions of a 2021 liberal experiment to decriminalize heroin and fentanyl, The Telegraph reported.
Currently, support for Measure 110 in Oregon, the first state to take the step of decriminalizing hard drugs, appears to be waning, according to the outlet. Whereas Measure 110 was backed by 58 percent of voters in November 2020, a recent Emerson College pollrevealed that public opinion has swung drastically, with 56 percent of voters now saying they would back a repeal, the newspaper reported. (RELATED: San Francisco On Track For Record Drug Overdoses As Opioid Epidemic Grips City)
“It has been pretty awful,” Matt Siegmund, the owner of Gardner Floor Covering in Eugene, told The Telegraph.
Siegmund says that the homeless have sheltered under the awning in front of his store for a long time, but there has been a change since the new measures were enacted.
“In the past, we were dealing with older drunks, but since Measure 110 passed the people are younger and more belligerent. They have been defecating and urinating. For the last three weeks, police have been sweeping the homeless people away so I and my staff can come to work,” Siegmund said.
Under Measure 110, addicts are given “tickets” for drug offenses that result in $100 fines, The Telegraph reported. However, the penalty would be waived if the addict rang a self-help line and sought treatment.
Around 6,000 people were ticketed in Oregon, but fewer than 125 rang the self-help line, Eugene’s Police Chief, Chris Skinner, told The Telegraph.
“We don’t have even really one successful example of somebody that went from a citation issued on the street to self-assessment to addiction services to a place of wellness,” Skinner told the Eugene City Council.
Skinner warned that Oregon was “on pace to shatter the record for overdose calls for service and shatter the record for overdose deaths. Police officers and firefighters are administering Narcan, life-saving Narcan at an alarming rate,” according to The Telegraph.
Police are not demanding the complete reversal of Measure 110, but they are supporting making drug possession a criminal offense again that would force addicts to have compulsory treatment, The Telegraph reported.
A measure which would would re-criminalize hard drugs could go on the ballot next year, according to The Telegraph.
Image Credit: Pixaby
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.