The Measure 110 Follies roll on


I received a pretty depressing press release yesterday from the Oregon state health authority on the latest news regarding the state's ill-advised legalization of street drugs, in Measure 110. That law took effect in February, but they're just now starting to give out money to treat addicts. The first grants, which will be split up among God-knows-how-many overhead-sucking nonprofits, amount to only $270 million. You talk about a drop in the proverbial bucket.

And get a load of what the money's going for:

The OAC will distribute $270M to organizations that will work together to provide services to all Oregonians who need treatment and support for substance use concerns, including housing, harm reduction, peer support, supported employment, and substance use disorder treatment. The BHRNs will also help people who request substance use support and other services in lieu of paying a fine for a Class E violation for possession of a small quantity of drugs.

Look carefully at the list of "concerns," the order of which tells you something about priorities. First on the list is housing. My God, the real estate weasels hoover up every dollar of public money they can get their hands on, don't they? 

Third on the list? "Supported employment." Hmmm, I guess that means the taxpayers will pay to supply free help to various companies. I wonder how those companies will be selected. No, it's not really wondering. It's more like shuddering to think.

You have to fight all the way through to the end of the sentence to get to actual drug treament. What percentage of the $270 million will that wind up being? Even if it's half (and I'll bet it's more like 20 percent), you're looking at $135 million. That sum probably won't treat a quarter of the junkies and P2P meth addicts in Portland alone.

Get used to stepping over the needles and stolen cars, folks. They are here to stay.

Comments