Oregon Legislators Reverse Decision, Reinstate Drug Penalties Following Surge in Overdoses

Credits: KGW

Oregon lawmakers are considering reinstating penalties for drug possession, a stark reversal just a few years after the state decriminalized hard drugs.

In 2020, Oregon made headlines by passing Measure 110, becoming the first state to decriminalize the possession of substances like cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, and methamphetamine.

However, the tide seems to be turning as state senators recently passed HB 40002 with a 21 to 8 vote. This bill aims to reintroduce criminal penalties for drug possession and has been sent to Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek for consideration.

The push to bring back penalties for drug possession comes amidst growing concerns about the impact of decriminalization on public safety and health outcomes.

Oregon Legislators (Credits: 9News)

Proponents of the bill argue that the current approach has led to an increase in drug-related crimes and has not effectively addressed addiction and substance abuse issues.

Opponents, on the other hand, argue that criminalizing drug possession disproportionately affects marginalized communities and does little to address the root causes of substance abuse.

They argue that a more holistic approach, focusing on prevention, treatment, and harm reduction, would be more effective in addressing the issue.

If signed into law, HB 40002 would mark a significant shift in Oregon’s drug policy and could have implications for other states considering similar measures.

The debate over drug decriminalization and its impact on public health and safety is likely to continue as policymakers grapple with finding the right balance between enforcement and harm reduction strategies.

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