US bill in Oregon aims to push drug addicts into treatment rather than jail
Oregon, a West Coast state in the United States, known for its progressive attitudes. It is one of the first states to legalize marijuana. Oregon recently passed a bill unprecedented in its legislature, which seeks to decriminalize the personal possession of at least six illicit drugs. Among them, MDMA, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Oregon plans to legalize 6 well-known drugs
The first law is House Bill 378, which aims to "reduce crimes against drugs related to crimes against serious crimes", followed by the project Bill 2355 with the aim of "decriminalizing at least six drugs, provided the person has no crimes or more than two previous convictions involving drugs".
According to The Washington Postthese two bills will go through the House and the Senate. Then they will go to the maintenance of Governor Kate Brown's office for her signature.
If the ordinances pass, Oregon could become one of the first states to decriminalize illegal substances. This will include MDMA, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine as long as they remain within the “personal amounts” limits. Further, they are not intended for distribution.
Oregon lawmakers are pushing for this change. This in order to reclassify drug-related problems. In particular to consider the drug addiction problem as a health problem rather than a criminal problem.
"We are committed to adopting a policy of treatment rather than jail beds," said State Senator Jackie Winters. “We cannot continue on the path of building more prisons when often the root of the underlying conviction of the crime is substance use”.
Disproportionate on minorities
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has said she intends to sign this new bill that reclassifies drug possession in the state. Studies have shown that Oregon's conviction rates disproportionately affect minorities.
A study conducted in 2015 by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission found that African Americans in Oregon were convicted of drug possession at more than double the rate of white offenders ... Native Americans were convicted of drug possession five times more than whites ...
The incarceration rate for African Americans is 5,6 times that of whites. Black people represent less than 2% of the population of Oregon, but represent more than 9% of those incarcerated in state prisons in 2014 ...