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Oregon’s Democrat Governor Signs Bill Recriminalizing Hard Drugs amid Overdose Crisis

by Amy Furr

Oregon’s Democrat governor signed a bill on Monday that restores criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of drugs as the problems of addiction and overdose plague residents across the state.

In February, Gov. Tina Kotek declared a state of emergency in Portland as the number of fentanyl overdoses skyrocketed a few years after drug use was decriminalized in the state, Breitbart News reported.

Meanwhile, NBC News reported Monday the recently signed law stipulates that possession of small amounts of drugs, including heroin or methamphetamine, will be deemed a misdemeanor.

The punishment that comes with being caught with the hard drugs could land suspects in jail for up to six months, the outlet said, adding that officials will offer individuals treatment as another option when it comes to criminal penalties.

The NBC report continued:

Ensuring full coordination between the state and participating agencies, such as the criminal justice system and health providers, is vital to the law’s success, Kotek said in a letter to state legislative leaders.

“Courts, Oregon State Police, local law enforcement, defense attorneys, district attorneys, and local behavioral health providers are all critical to these conversations and necessary partners to achieve the vision for this legislation,” the letter read in part. “We must balance local programmatic design with the need to achieve statewide consistency and standardization where appropriate.”


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