Oregon’s Drug Decriminalization Gets Poor Marks On Audit
FILE - A woman enters the Great Circle drug treatment center in Salem, Ore., on March 8, 2022. Two years ago, Oregonians voted to decriminalize drugs and dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars to treatment services, but the state's first-in-the-nation drug decriminalization has had a rocky start. Secretary of State Shemia Fagan said on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, as she released an audit of the program that it's too early to call it a failure. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon’s first-in-the-nation drug decriminalization has had a rocky start, but the Oregon secretary of state says as part of an audit of the program that it’s too early to call it a failure.

Decriminalization of personal-use amounts of drugs, approved by voters in 2020 under Ballot Measure 110, was supposed to channel hundreds of millions of dollars of marijuana tax revenues into drug treatment and harm reduction programs.

It hasn’t yet translated into an improved care network for a state with the second-highest rate of substance use disorder in the nation and ranked 50th for access to treatment.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan said Measure 110 must work because people’s lives hang in the balance.

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