Gov. Kotek, OSP announce new strategies to address fentanyl distribution

On Tuesday, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek announced Oregon State Police will be launching new statewide fentanyl strategic enforcement and disruption strategies.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:37 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - On Tuesday, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek announced Oregon State Police will be launching new statewide fentanyl strategic enforcement and disruption strategies.

The Oregon State Police’s Fentanyl Strategic Enforcement and Disruption Initiative includes:

  • Increasing and reallocating staff to strategic local drug enforcement teams, including local and regional teams.
  • Designing and hosting interagency saturation patrols with an emphasis on fentanyl interdiction using teams of narcotic enforcement K-9′s, drug enforcement detectives, and patrol resources.
  • Partnering with the DOJ to update and make interdiction training available to our public safety partners to avoid unlawful searches and address potential biases prior to the implementation of enhanced enforcement strategies.
  • Extending their High Visibility Enforcement Unit (HVEU) pilot that kicked off this summer, which uses a data driven approach to identifying drug and alcohol impaired drivers who present a danger to public safety.

“I want all Oregonians to know that the state is moving forward with several new fentanyl strategic enforcement and disruption strategies,” Governor Kotek stated in a press release. “I’m grateful to Superintendent Codding and his team for bringing forward an urgent and thoughtful plan. As we work to cut the supply of fentanyl and hold dealers accountable for selling dangerous drugs, I also remain fully committed to expanding access to critical behavioral health services.”

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Gov. Kotek made the announcement at the Portland Central City Task Force’s second meeting.

“The terrible impacts of fentanyl here in Oregon are plain to see,” Oregon State Police Superintendent Casey Codding said. “The Oregon State Police is steadfastly committed to stopping its distribution and increased use in our communities through proactive interdiction and enforcement, and through collaboration with community, public health, education, and public safety partners.”

In 2023, Oregon State Police said it has seized 62 pounds of powder and 232,962 fentanyl pills before it could reach Oregon communities.

In the press release, Governor Kotek stated public consumption of controlled substances is a problem that needs to addressed in the upcoming legislative session. She also noted the Portland Central City Task Force will be discussing working with legislators to fix the issue and commended Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Council ‘for their partnership in this effort’ and for passing an emergency ordinance banning open air drug use in the city a few weeks ago.

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Despite the emergency ordinance passing City Council unanimously, state law needs to change for it to go into effect. Fox 12 spoke to several commissioners following the council meeting.

“I think there is going to be multiple steps here,” Commissioner Rene Gonzalez said. “One is we are asking the legislature to take this up in the next legislative session. Second, I hope this gets the focus back on behavioral health in the region and how important it is to both get a sobering station up and running and other behavioral health assets in the City of Portland. We need to keep an eye on those pieces. Third, folks who are selling fentanyl and meth on the streets of Portland we need to go after in a very real way from a criminal justice perspective. All those things need to happen simultaneously. Not just one. It’s going to take multiple steps to address this issue.”