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Possession Of All Drugs Is Now Decriminalised In Oregon

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Possession Of All Drugs Is Now Decriminalised In Oregon

A day after the 2020 US Election, the US state of Oregon declared it would become the first to decriminalise possession of all drugs.

Many were shocked to know you wouldn't get thrown in jail if police found weed, cocaine, heroin or acid on your person in the state.

The law that was made to usher in this new drug policy officially kicked into gear on February 1.

The hope is that this new approach will decrease the risk of people getting trapped in a vicious cycle of incarceration, while increasing the possibility of recovery from addiction.

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Instead of getting arrested for drug possession, people found with personal amounts of substances would get a civil citation 'like a traffic ticket', instead of a criminal citation.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Addiction recovery centres will have more responsibility in 'triaging the acute needs of people who use drugs and assessing and addressing any on-going needs thorough intensive case management and linkage to care and services'.

As part of Measure 110, tax generated from the state's cannabis sales will be reallocated to fund addiction treatment. Savings made in the criminal justice system as a result of the measure may also be used to create a new fund for drug treatment.

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The law faced opposition from two dozen district attorneys who thought it was reckless and would lead to more people taking dangerous drugs.

Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said: "Measure 110 is arguably the biggest blow to the war on drugs to date

"Oregonians understand that we should be treating drug use as a health issue. It is a huge sledgehammer to the cornerstone of the war on drugs.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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"We saw this with marijuana, the domino effect. We are hoping that as the country is having conversations about how to use our resources, how to deal with our loved ones, that Oregon will potentially lead the way."

Haven Wheelock, a harm reduction specialist at non-profit health centre Outside In, echoed Kassandra's sentiment.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, she said: "It takes a lot of courage to try something new, and I'm really proud of our state.

"I'm excited to be a model for other places to show that we don't have to harm people for being sick."

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Selling and manufacturing drugs in the state will remain illegal, and possession of larger amounts could result in misdemeanour charges.

In a separate measure, Oregon also voted to legalise psilocybin - aka magic mushrooms - for people aged 21 or older.

Measure 109 will allow licensed professionals to administer magic mushrooms at regulated treatment centres to help with depression, anxiety, and addiction.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, US News, Drugs

Stewart Perrie
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