Portland’s Drug Issue

 The war on drugs is not over.


The war on drugs is not over.

Portland’s drug problem keeps getting worse, and Portland lawmakers have decided to take money away from the addiction centers and give the money to law enforcement. The money comes from Measure 110, which was made to decriminalize hard drugs so people would go to rehab instead of prison. 

In the measure’s first three months, it helped 18,000 people get help and overcome their addictions. Measure 110 was passed in November of 2020, but didn’t come into effect until February of 2021. Portland law enforcement wants to get 120 million of the 300 million dollars given to the drug rehab centers. This all stems from senate bill 1541 which would redirect the money given to law enforcement across the whole state of Oregon.

Dru Draper, the Communications Director of the Senate Republicans Office, said the dollar amount was in flux. Lots of people in Portland are saying that we need to take Measure 110 more times because we have only seen it in effect for about a year, and in that year, there was a lot of success. But senators Tim Knopp, Cherri Helt and Daniel Bonham all support bill 1541. 

Although most of the money will go to law enforcement, the Metropolitan Mayor’s Consortium said they need the money because their cities have lost out on 45 million dollars. When measure 110 was implemented, the government siphoned 45 million dollars from their cities, and the Metropolitan Mayor’s Consortium represents around 1.7 million people. Their reasoning for wanting this money back is because Measure 110 was supposed to get their money from marijuana taxes and not take it from cities. The cities say this money was used for law enforcement and for healthcare and the towns in those counties need the money. 

Many Oregonians have their own opinions on money being taken away from addiction services, including the secretary of state, Shemia Fagan who states, ”This is very frustrating for me and many Oregonians, because treatment is a matter of life and death for people we know. I want to see Measure 110 work.” 

Other Oregonians like Ron Williams, who is on the Measure 110 accountability and oversight team said that “…this bill would be devastating to Measure 110’s funded addiction recovery services across the state at a time where addiction services should be prioritized and expanded.” 

This is coming at a time where Oregon is dealing with the worst drug addiction problems in the United States. They rank number one in opioid and methamphetamine misuse, and Oregon’s rate of substance abuse is among some of the highest in the country. That’s why so many people want to give Measure 110 more time instead of already taking money from it. 

Bill 1541 still hasn’t been passed, and is still in early stages of development, So it still isn’t for sure if there will be money taken from measure 110.