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Oregon decriminalizes possession of all drugs: first state in the US

Oregon decriminalizes possession of all drugs: first state in the US

The measure aims at community recovery instead of prison and introduces for the first time the concept of «modest quantity». Anyone found with substances for personal use, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, will be able to pay a $ 100 fine, which will be withdrawn if they undergo a medical evaluation

NEW YORK — Healthcare and therapeutic communities instead of prison, for anyone found in possession of drugs. Oregon is the first state in America to choose the path of complete decriminalization of drug users. And let’s not talk about marijuana, already legal here since 2014 when the Northwest state was the first to authorize its medical use, approving, the following year, even the recreational one. The recently ratified measure 110 abandons any justicialist approach to focus on an exclusively medical method.  

From today, anyone found in possession of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and oxycodone will be fined with a $ 100 fine and subjected to the precautionary measure of a court citation. This, however, will be withdrawn if the person agrees to have their health assessed, ready to embark on a recovery path.  

«If we want to help addicts make different choices, we have to give them more options,» Kassandra Frederique, director of Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit that has fought hard for the new law, told USA Today . «Ending prison allows those who want to change their path to have opportunities that a dirty criminal record cancels forever.»

A disparity, here in America, above all racial: «In court, African Americans are sentenced twice as many as whites, even if the crime is the same.» The national numbers speak for themselves: 87 per cent of drug arrests are related to possession alone: ​​»Treatment costs less than keeping all these people in prison,» says Frederique.

Hoping that once again, on the narcotics issue, Oregon is the forerunner of the entire nation: «The punitive approach, by now has been proven, does not work». The law comes into force at a particularly delicate moment for the Northwest state: in a pandemic year, the number of overdoses has shot up by 70 percent. «We must base our policies on science and statistics rather than on the myth of stigma and punishment.» The program will be funded through proceeds from the state cannabis tax.