One year ago today, Oregonians voted to stop criminalizing addiction and start treating it like a health issue.


On the anniversary of Measure 110’s passage, it’s safe to say that the new law is up and running across the state. Some services have already been funded at a faster timeline than the law originally promised.

Portland, OR – Today, the Health Justice Recovery Alliance, (the only coalition whose work is fully dedicated to the implementation of Measure 110), its 75+ organizational members, harm reduction and addiction recovery providers, Oregon’s recovery community and many others, join together in celebrating a major milestone: Exactly one year ago today, Measure 110 won the ballot by a 17-point margin, garnering overwhelming support from Oregonians in communities both progressive and conservative, rural and urban. The measure’s intent is to move substance use away from being a criminal justice issue to a health issue, and invest in the communities that have been most impacted by the war on drugs.

Measure 110 decriminalizes personal possession of small amounts of all drugs while expanding access to harm reduction and addiction recovery services. Arrest records saddle people with criminal records that create lifelong barriers to employment and housing. Now they are being connected to health and recovery services, including housing assistance, to help them on their path to recovery. Individuals who receive a citation for drug possession may call (503) 575-3769 or (541) 575-3769 to obtain a social service needs screening and have their fine waived. Anyone is welcome to seek support through the program.

On a fast track
In some areas, Measure 110 implementation has moved faster than its original timeline. Advocates worked side-by-side with state lawmakers to release $30 million in Measure 110 funds early to address the major crisis at hand. In May, after an intentionally accelerated grant process to get funds into the hands of providers as quickly as possible, the first round of Measure 110 community grants were awarded. Grants focused on expanding existing services offered by community providers with a particular focus on culturally and linguistically-specific organizations serving the communities most impacted by the war on drugs. 

Voters care more about treatment, not citations.
Oregon voters responded most enthusiastically to the Measure 110 campaign’s core message: that it is time to start treating drug use as a public health issue, and not a criminal justice one. Extensive statewide polling found that a broad, diverse majority of Oregon voters supported Measure 110 and were motivated primarily by its investments in overdose prevention and addiction recovery services. “Oregon voters made it very clear during statewide polling that the citation component of the law was less important to them than increasing access to lifesaving services,” said Dave Metz of FM3 Research. “It is clear that the program is honoring the will of the voters by funding critical services at a faster timeline than the law originally promised.”

Who gets help
70 organizations in 26 out of Oregon’s 36 Oregon Counties were funded as follows: 

  • 33 harm reduction and addiction recovery service providers expanded access to treatment services for indigent, uninsured individuals. 
  • 52 organizations hired peer support specialists — a role that addiction medicine experts have long heralded as essential to one’s recovery journey.
  • 32 service providers added recovery, supportive and transitional housing services.
  • 30 organizations increased harm reduction services, which include life-saving interventions like overdose prevention, access to naloxone and hydrochloride, as well as drug education and outreach.

More funding to come
The Health Justice Recovery Alliance also worked successfully with lawmakers to secure $302 million in Measure 110 services over the next biennium, as part of a historic behavioral health package that, overall, invests nearly $1 billion in behavioral health services. The $302 million allocated for Measure 110 services will increase access to:

  • Behavioral Health Treatment that is evidence-based, trauma-informed, culturally specific, linguistically accessible, and patient-centered;
  • Peer support and recovery services designed to help people continue to address their Substance Use;
  • Housing (transitional and supportive) for people who use substances; and
  • Harm reduction interventions including but not limited to overdose prevention, access to naloxone and hydrochloride along with drug education and outreach.

Everyone is affected by addiction
“Addiction has touched us all somehow, some more personally and heartbreakingly than others. Too many of us have lost loved ones to addiction, or struggled with it ourselves. COVID-19 has made things much worse, decreasing access to care during a time when Oregonians need these services more than ever before. That’s why today, exactly one year after the Measure’s passage, we celebrate the great strides made when it comes to addressing Oregon’s addiction crisis, while recognizing that there’s still much work to be done,” said Tera Hurst, Executive Director of the Health Justice Recovery Alliance. 

Measure 110 is part of the solution
Health Justice Recovery Alliance also focuses on lifting up the voices of and investing in culturally and linguistically-specific providers who are typically left behind during major funding opportunities. Measure 110 is a key part of how Oregon’s Black, Latinx, Native, Indigenous and Tribal communities begin the journey of healing from over 50 years of being systematically targeted by America’s failed approach to drug addiction. “Roughly 14% of Oregon’s population identifies as Latinx, yet the state is home to only one residential treatment center that offers culturally and linguistically-specific addiction recovery services for our community, said Fernando Pena, Executive Director of Northwest Instituto Latino. “Measure 110 can change that.”

Measuring success to date
The decriminalization provision of the law did not go into effect until February 1, 2021. Because of this, it’s too early to measure the exact success of that portion of the law. “But what we do know,” said Larry Turner, President of Fresh Out Community Based Reentry Program, “is that prior to Measure 110 about 9,000 Oregonians were arrested each year for drugs — that’s the equivalent of about one arrest per hour. So if you think of it in those terms, that’s thousands of people who, in this last year, have not been saddled with the lifelong barriers that too often accompany even a misdemeanor drug charge, preventing people in recovery from accessing housing, a job, or even obtaining a credit card. It may be too soon to measure the exact impact of decriminalization just yet, but we know we’ve avoided a lot of unnecessary human suffering.” 

The work continues
Measure 110 implementation work continues as its Oversight & Accountability Council prepares for the second round of RFGPs to fund more services across the state — including funding focused on establishing recovery and harm reduction services network named Behavioral Health Resource Networks (BHRNS) — which the law requires at least one of in each county. BHRNs help guarantee Oregonians low-barrier access to a full array addiction services — including treatment, peer-supported recovery, harm reduction services, and supportive, transitional, and long-term housing. BHRNs will provide services for undocumented and uninsured people and will not charge for the services they provide. The law also builds on critical services offered by existing community-based providers throughout the state, giving people who use drugs immediate access to treatment, care and other appropriate services.


To learn more about Measure 110 and the Health Justice Recovery Alliance please visit Media interested in speaking with Measure 110 service providers, HJRA, or others closely involved with the new law should contact Devon Downeysmith to facilitate an interview: