Marshall: Addiction cries for treatment, not punishment

October 16, 2020

As a 16-year resident of Yamhill County, I was disappointed to see my hometown newspaper editorialize against Measure 110.

Oregon’s current approach to drug addiction is failing our communities. And I should know., as I have spent 25 years working in the criminal and juvenile systems in Oregon as a prosecutor, child welfare lawyer, U.S. Attorney and criminal defense attorney.

I have witnessed first hand the devastating failures of criminalizing, shaming and stigmatizing people who suffer from substance use disorder. I have seen personally that our state’s current approach does not work, that criminalizing addiction only makes the problem worse.

As a person in recovery and the mom of a teen in recovery, it’s become personal for me as well. I know supportive treatment and recovery services are what people with addictions need. I’ve lived it and I’ve watched my child live it.

Neither of us would be where we are today if we hadn’t had access to quality treatment, and sadly, we had to leave the state to get it. Life-saving health care shouldn’t be reserved for the privileged few, but the fact is, most Oregonians don’t have access to treatment when and where they need it.

 

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