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Oregon Lawmakers Reverse Course, Reimpose Drug Penalties After Overdose Surge

Oregon lawmakers are seeking to reinstate penalties for drug possession just a few years after decriminalizing hard drugs, according to the New York Times.

Oregon passed in 2020 Measures 110 It became the first state in the country to decriminalize hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, and methamphetamine. according to This was reported to local media outlet OPB. But on Friday, state senators passed it. HB40002 The bill to reinstate criminal penalties for drug possession passed on a 21-8 vote, sending the bill to Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek's desk. according to to the Times. (Related: Oregon declares state of emergency to address fentanyl crisis after hard drug decriminalization in 2020)

Democratic state Sen. Chris Gorsec, who once supported decriminalization, told the Times, “It's clear that we have to do something to adjust what's going on in our communities.” Told.

A man injects heroin using a needle obtained from the People's Harm Reduction Alliance, the nation's largest needle exchange program, on April 30, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Reuters/David Ryder)

If signed into law, the bill would increase penalties for illegal possession of drugs starting September 1, 2024. Possession would be considered a “misdemeanor drug offense,” and new procedures would be required to release people charged with possession.

In December, Kotek asked lawmakers to pass a bill that would make public possession of hard drugs a criminal offense, and a month later, in January, he issued a 90-day public health mandate regarding the state's fentanyl crisis. Announcing a state of emergency, he said, “We have never seen this before.” Using such a deadly and addictive drug. ” By 2022, Oregon’s overdoses will be woke up On one day in March 2023, police received 11 reports of overdoses, an increase of 20%.

Meanwhile, decriminalization efforts proved unpopular, as at least 60% of voters in the state said state Law 110 “made drug addiction, homelessness, and crime worse.” DHM Research.city ​​of portland returned A penalty banning public drug use was imposed in September.

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