Former Governor John Kitzhaber, MD Announces Opposition to Ballot Measure 110

Drug Decriminalization Ballot Measure 110 

Portland, OR—Former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, MD announced today his opposition to Ballot Measure 110, which would decriminalize the possession of addictive drugs without guaranteeing the creation of treatment services. 

“As a parent, a doctor and former Governor, I urge Oregonians to vote “no” on Ballot Measure 110,” Kitzhaber wrote in a statement. “Oregon is in the midst of an addiction crisis, in no small part because of the failed War on Drugs, which stigmatized addiction as a crime instead of the disease that it is. We have the third-highest untreated addiction rate in the country, and consistently rank near the bottom in access to treatment. At the same time, the social isolation, economic stress and anxiety from COVID-19 have led many Oregonians to self-medicate with addictive drugs.” 

He added, “Today, those arrested for illegal drug possession in Oregon are offered state-funded treatment services through diversion programs, including drug courts. Measure 110 would eliminate this invaluable tool by reducing the possession of highly addictive drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and oxycodone to a “violation,” which means the court will no longer have the ability to offer people the choice to pursue treatment. It also means that a teenager caught in possession of heroin or meth will only receive a ticket, which in many counties means that parents won’t be informed of their child’s drug use.” 

Measure 110 is also opposed by the Oregon Council for Behavioral Health, because treatment providers believe it does not address fundamental problems in Oregon’s addiction treatment and recovery system. Likewise, the Oregon Society for Addiction Medicine (treatment doctors) voted not to endorse the measure.   

The vast majority of state legislators on both sides of the aisle, County Commissioners, and City Council members across the state are not supporting the measure.  

And 26 of Oregon’s 36 District Attorneys oppose Measure 110: 

John Haroldson, Benton County 

John Foote, Clackamas County 

Ron Brown, Clatsop County 

Jeff Auxier, Columbia County 

Wade Whiting, Crook County 

Josh Spansail, Curry County 

Rick Wesenberg, Douglas County 

Marion Weatherford, Gilliam County 

Joseph Lucas, Harney County 

John Sewell, Hood River County 

Beth Heckert, Jackson County 

Josh Eastman, Josephine County 

Patty Perlow, Lane County 

Doug Marteeny, Linn County 

Dave Goldthorpe, Malheur County 

Paige Clarkson, Marion County 

Justin Nelson, Morrow County 

Aaron Felton, Polk County 

William Porter, Tillamook County 

Dan Primus, Umatilla County 

Kelsie McDaniel, Union County 

Rebecca Frolander, Wallowa County 

Kevin Barton, Washington County 

Gretchen Ladd, Wheeler County 

Brad Berry, Yamhill County 

Measure 110 would decriminalize the possession of up to 1 gram of heroin, 2 grams of meth, 2 grams of cocaine, 12 grams of psilocybin, 40 user units of oxycodone, 40 user units of methadone, 40 user units of LSD, and 5 user units of MDMA—for children, teens, and adults in Oregon. 

Additionally, the measure does not require the creation of inpatient or outpatient treatment services. It only requires the creation of 16 misleadingly named “Addiction Recovery Centers” that will not provide treatment nor recovery services. Instead, they provide five non-treatment services: triage, health assessments, referrals, peer support, and outreach. 

Measure 110 does not add any revenue to the state’s budget. Instead, over the next three years, it takes away an estimated $45 million from cities’ and counties’ mental health and addiction services. It takes away $11 million from the alcohol and drug abuse prevention and intervention that can help stop people—especially youth—from becoming addicted in the first place. It also takes $90 million from the State School Fund.