Published: Nov. 19, 2023, 6:30 a.m.

By Guest Columnist | The Oregonian

Paige Clarkson and Matthew Phillips

Clarkson is Marion County district attorney. Phillips is Clatsop County sheriff.

Oregon continues to struggle with a massive addiction and overdose crisis that ballooned following the decriminalization of personal possession of fentanyl and other lethal drugs under Ballot Measure 110. With public opinion souring on decriminalization amid the rise of open-air drug use, drug-fueled crime and soaring overdoses, Measure 110 supporters are now shifting blame for the measure’s policy failures to, ironically, law enforcement. The absurdity of this tactic should be obvious to Oregonians who remember that Measure 110 rhetoric was (and still is) to divorce law enforcement and prosecution from drug use – even if the justice system response is to steer individuals to treatment. As a result, it has also divorced our system of accountability from the personal and community harm caused by those who are severely addicted.

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