A majority of Oregon residents want to partially overturn a 2020 referendum that legalized small amounts of drugs, citing increased homelessness and crime as major problems, according to a poll by DHM Research released in May.
Oregon residents voted to pass Referendum Measure 110 in November 2020 for the purposes of diverting addicts away from prison and into treatment centers as a more holistic way of addressing drug addiction. Despite supporting cannabis taxes funding overdose prevention measures, 63% of Oregonians now support rolling back the lax drug-possession rules, with 30% saying they “strongly” support it, the poll found.
Further, 53% of residents supported repealing portions of Measure 110 after learning that the state is having significant issues implementing the treatment centers that were promised.
Majority of voters in progressive Oregon regret decriminalizing drugs: survey https://t.co/dN19wc15C7 pic.twitter.com/Egw8aNyZcf
— New York Post (@nypost) May 18, 2023
The poll surveyed 500 Oregon residents between April 24-30 and has a 4% margin of error.
Despite the initial goal of Measure 110 to expand treatment options, a 2022 analysis by the Portland State University School of Public Health found a 49% gap in substance abuse services, with over half of providers citing a lack of resources to meet demand. The first round of funding from Measure 110, $310 million, faced significant delays and was used to provide safe injection kits, peer mentors, and outreach rather than investment in long-term residential care, OPB News reported.
Further, Oregon is number one in the nation for the number of individuals in need of treatment but without access.
“Possession of these hard drugs and use of these hard drugs in public spaces has been normalized, and it’s simply not safe in our communities,” former Oregon GOP gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan told the New York Post. “Fewer than one percent of folks who are engaging in these harmful behaviors are electing to pursue treatment,” she said.
Over 6 in 10 voters, at least 60%, said that Measure 110 made homelessness, addiction, and crime worse. When asked about the root causes of homelessness, 59% said drug addiction and mental illness, compared to 37% saying lack of affordable housing.
Homelessness in Oregon jumped 23% between 2020 to 2022, well above the national increase of 1%, according to the 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report. The majority of Oregon’s homeless are unsheltered, 61%, compared to 38% sheltered in transitional homes or safe havens.
“I think we didn’t realize that what we were signing up for was the deterioration of civilized norms and the public spaces being ceded to people in late-stage drug addiction and engaged in all sorts of criminal activity to keep that addiction going,” trial attorney Kristin Olson told Fox News.
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