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Oregon drug decriminalization

  • Season: Season 1
  • Posted On:
  • Featuring: Sean Collins, Andrew Seaman, Mike Marshall, Beau Kilmer, & Janie Gullickson

In November 2020, Oregon became the first state in the country to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit hard drugs when 60% of voters approved Measure 110. Proponents wanted to stop arresting people for a health condition (addiction). Tax money from the legal sale of cannabis will fund new treatment options for addicted Oregonians.

Episode Notes

America has been fighting a War on Drugs for 50 years - a war we've been losing. Oregon's Measure 110 is a bold attempt to re-reframe the tactics. It will attempt to shift the thinking from law enforcement to health care.

On today's program, we hear from four people who'll be involved in how this first-in-the-nation experiment plays out. They don't all agree on the means to an end, but they do agree on the goal: Get help to anyone who wants it for substance use disorders and stop putting people in jail for what amounts to a complex neurobehavioral disorder with far-reaching social consequences.

Read the text of Oregon Measure 110

Andrew Seaman, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Oregon Health and Science University

Central City Concern

Addiction Medicine

Mike Marshall

Co-Founder & Director

Oregon Recovers

Beau Kilmer, Ph,D. M.P.P.


RAND Drug Policy Research Center

Janie Gullickson, M.P.A:H.A.  P.S.S.  P.R.C.

Executive Director

Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon

Co-Chief Petitioner, Oregon Measure 110


  • Seán Collins is a veteran public radio producer, having worked in NPR’s newsroom in Washington, D.C. where he led a team that produced the network’s flagship daily newsmagazine All Things Considered in addition to spending time on the staff of both Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation.  Seán, a former Benedictine monk, lives pretty quietly these days with an eleven-year-old puggle in Saint Louis.