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Oregon Makes “Significant Change” In Drug Policy

Oregon State University

Voters in nearly half of Oregon’s counties approved sweeping changes to the state’s drug laws during this month’s election.

Starting in February, Measure 110 will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of certain hard drugs including heroin, cocaine and meth. Scott Akins is a professor of sociology in the school of public policy at Oregon State University. “The passage of Measure 110 in Oregon by more than 58 percent of the vote was probably the most significant change in drug policy in any state since recreational marijuana was first legalized," he said during an  OSU post-election forum with Oregon journalists.

The manufacture and sale of those drugs will remain a crime. Supporters say the initiative will help people with addictions to focus on recovery. Opponents said criminal penalties serve as an incentive for people to seek treatment.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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