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Oregon to audit Measure 110 drug decriminalization effectiveness

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(The Center Square) – Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade and the Oregon Audits Division released their 2024-2025 Annual Audit Plan — and the state plans to address its liberalized drug laws.

One of the planned performance and IT audits is called “Measure 110 Program Effectiveness at the Oregon Health Authority,” according to a press release from the Secretary of State’s office.

“The last of three mandated audits of Measure 110, the state’s pioneering effort around drug decriminalization and funding expanded substance use disorder treatment,” the audit plan released by the Secretary of State’s office said. “This audit will assess the program effectiveness and outcomes of the new treatment system funded by grants from the Oversight and Accountability Council and administered by the Oregon Health Authority.”

The Secretary of State’s office plans to assess how the law has impacted access to healthcare. It also plans to see how the law has impacted those who seek treatment for drug addiction.

“Legislative requirements include an assessment of the functioning of law enforcement and the courts, the telephone hotline, and outcomes such as whether access to care has increased, treatment service providers have increased, and overdoses decreased,” the audit plan said. “It will also assess data on Behavioral Health Resource Networks and grant recipients, including outcomes of each network or recipient, the numbers of individuals seeking treatment who are denied access and the reasons for any delays, the average wait time to access services, and demographic data on clients served. This is a statutorily mandated audit.”

The audit comes as industrial levels of fentanyl are present in Oregon, as The Center Square previously reported.

Portland, Oregon, suffered eight drug overdose deaths in one May 2023 weekend alone, six of which were likely fentanyl-related, according to The Associated Press. Additionally, overdose deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled in Oregon, from 226 in 2020 to 508 in 2021, the report said.

The increased drug presence comes as the state liberalized its drug laws. Oregon voters approved Measure 110 in 2020, decriminalizing possession of small amounts of hard drugs, including heroin, meth, cocaine, and fentanyl.

Since Measure 110 took effect, homelessness and drug overdose deaths have increased in Oregon, according to Stateline. The state has also seen a decrease in convention and hotel bookings in response to the law, the report said.

Now, fentanyl is the top cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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