Oregon recriminalizes drugs after upswing in overdose deaths


The excessive occasions are over in Oregon.

Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek signed laws Monday to recriminalize the possession of small amounts of certain drugs because the state grapples with a significant overdose disaster, ending a legalization experiment backed by voters 4 years in the past.

The brand new regulation makes retaining medication reminiscent of heroin or methamphetamine a misdemeanor punishable by as much as six months in jail. It additionally permits police to confiscate the medication and crack down on their use in sidewalks and parks.

Again in 2020, voters backed Measure 110, which made minor possession of personal-use quantities of sure medication a non-criminal violation on par with receiving a visitors ticket.

Gov. Tina Kotek insisted that drug enforcement gained’t be enterprise as traditional after recriminalizing unlawful possession. AP

It took impact in February 2021, making Oregon the primary state to formally decriminalize minor drug possession.

Since then, the Beaver State has seen a big uptick in homelessness, homicides, and overdose deaths.

In 2020, unintentional opioid overdose deaths clocked in at 472 and hit a minimum of 628 in 2023, according to state data.

In 2022, Portland set a brand new document for murders with 101 — breaking the mark of 92 set the earlier 12 months.

Oregon grew to become the primary state within the nation to formally experiment with drug decriminalization three years in the past. REUTERS
Portland police officer David Baer holds up a blue oxycodone tablet. REUTERS

Again in January, Kotek declared a fentanyl state of emergency within the metropolis, saying on the time: “Our nation and our state have by no means seen a drug this lethal and addictive, and all are grappling with easy methods to reply.”

The brand new regulation, which can take impact Sept. 1, will let native regulation enforcement resolve whether or not to present violators the prospect to pursue therapy earlier than reserving them into jail

One other invoice Kotek signed Monday, Senate Invoice 5204, allocates $211 million to mobilize sources for behavioral well being and teaching programs, together with expanded entry to substance abuse therapy and prevention training.

President Joe Biden and Tina Kotek order ice cream, AP

“Success of this coverage framework hinges on the flexibility of implementing companions to decide to deep coordination in any respect ranges,” Kotek emphasised in a letter to legislative leaders.

The governor additional known as on the Division of Corrections to make sure a “constant strategy for supervision when a person is launched” from detention and to “exhaust non-jail alternatives for misdemeanor sanctions.”


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