Racial justice and health equity leaders across the state support Measure 110

September 17, 2020

More than 110 organizations from around Oregon, including more than a third of which are racial justice and health equity advocacy groups, are urging Oregonians to vote yes on Measure 110, which is designed to establish a more humane, equitable and effective approach to drug addiction treatment in Oregon.

Given the heightened and necessary attention on racial and justice reforms recently, many of the organizations that endorsed the measure have also signed onto an open letter today to share with the communities they serve and with Oregon voters more broadly.

THE LETTER:

Racial justice and health equity leaders across the state support Measure 110

Oregon is facing an addiction crisis. Nearly one in ten Oregonians over the age of twelve suffers from substance use disorder, and 281,758 Oregonians who have needed treatment within the last year but have been unable to get it.  Meanwhile, we continue to treat addiction as a crime, rather than a healthcare issue, arresting nearly 9,000 people per year for personal drug possession, disproportionately targeting Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ community members. This approach ruins lives, it’s costly to taxpayers, and it’s not working. It’s time to shift to a more humane, health-based approach to drugs.

That’s why we support Measure 110. Instead of criminalizing people struggling with addiction, Measure 110 will expand access to low-barrier, culturally-responsive treatment and recovery services that will better serve our communities. Measure 110 will reduce criminal penalties for drug possession and direct existing marijuana taxes to increase funding for lifesaving treatment and recovery services.

Moreover, Measure 110 will nearly eliminate racial disparities for drug arrests and convictions, according to a report released by the Oregon Secretary of State and conducted by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.

People of color face unfair racial disparities at every stage of the criminal justice system. Black and Indigenous people are three times more likely to be arrested compared to whites, despite using drugs at similar rates. Drug arrests can set up lifelong barriers to access housing, employment, student loans, and professional licenses, making it nearly impossible for people to get their lives back on track. For immigrants and refugees, the criminalization of addiction can lead to families being torn apart.

It’s time to stop the unfair criminalization of people who suffer from addiction, and shift to a more humane, health-based approach.

Signed,

Coalition of Communities of Color
Unite Oregon
Causa
ACLU of Oregon
Brown Hope
Next Up Oregon
Jewish Federation of Portland
Community Alliance of Lane County
Escudo Latino
Springfield Alliance for Equity and Respect
Centro Latino Americano
Outside In
Black and Beyond the Binary
Partnership for Safety and Justice
Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and Foundation
NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon
Freedom to Thrive
Basic Rights Oregon
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
Cascade AIDS Project
Prism Health
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon
NAACP Portland Branch
Oregon Food Bank
Forward Together
Oregon Latino Health Coalition
Elevate Oregon
Latino Network
Family Forward

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