PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – In the 2020 election, Oregon voters could have a chance to make a big decision about how the state handles drug addiction.

Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act would mandate addiction recovery centers in communities around the state, potentially making drug treatment more widely available.

The centers would be overseen by the Oregon Health Authority and funded by surplus money from Oregon’s marijuana revenues and savings from the criminal justice system, since the proposed measure also reduces criminal penalties for drug possession.

That last part has raised some eyebrows in the criminal justice community.

“This is a terrible idea,” said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton. “It’s disconnected to what’s best for Oregonians. It will lead to increased crime and increased drug use.”

The measure’s supporters, on the other hand, believe people guilty only of addiction to drugs have been given jail time instead of treatment for years, with overwhelmingly negative effects on their lives.

“Instead of caring for people, offering appropriate treatment, we have decided to incarcerate them and by incarcerating them, we take away the very things that allows their recovery,” said Andy Seaman, an addiction specialist and assistant professor of medicine.

Janie Gullickson, a former addict who is now executive director of Mental Health Addiction Associates of Oregon, said jail time and criminal charges kept her in the cycle of addiction for years.

“I think my five children would have appreciated if I’d gotten treatment 20, 22 years earlier. Had access, had known how to get access,” said Gullickson, who is also one of the measure’s chief petitioners.

The proposed measure is currently in its early stages of development.

Organizers have been given permission by the Secretary of State to begin collecting signatures.

More than 100,000 signatures would be required to get the measure on the ballot.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(5) comments

Frederick Fukov

Nothing like a former drug addict still blaming others for her own choices. We all grow up knowing right from wrong. We know that choosing to do illicit drugs is wrong. Sure, go ahead and decriminalize drug possession and see what happens. This it pretty typical Oregon thinking. Gotta love the attempted guilt trip where this gal tries to blame the laws and being incarcerated for her scruing up her own life and not being around for her kids. It's real easy. If you wanna be a parent to your kids, don't do drugs, and stop blaming other people for your own poor choices.

Jefferson

A true Liberal would just let them do what they like and then suffer the legal and social consequences of their choices and actions, regardless of their addictions. :)

racecar57

Why doesn't jail time clean a addict up? If it is because he still gets drugs in jail then lets stop it !!! If he gets clean in jail then relapses on outside that tells me he will always relapse. The person needs to want to quit or forced to quit long enough for him to see the advantages of quitting so he can want to quit. Do not take the punishments away from drug use or you will go backwards in controlling drug use!!

Kenny Rogers

The war on drugs has been a completely and utter failure. So much money is wasted and has yielded no positive results.

kyjaha

Totally agree. The lives lost, to addiction, taken during enforcement actions, the futures ruined by conviction for non- violent, class A felony are innumerable. This is just how draconion US laws are regarding drugs. Right now, in federal courts, in this country an individual can receive a life sentence for possession of a large quantity of marijuana. A life sentence for Weed. Marijuana is a schedule I controlled substance. Heroin is schedule two, along with cocaine. But weed is considered the most dangerous of all drugs. So all you law and order hypocrites (That's right, I said it!) Have no clue of what you speak.

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