Proposed Reversal on Decriminalization in Oregon Sets Dangerous Precedent for the Country

Statement Kellen Russoniello January 24, 2024
Media Contact

New York, NY – Today, the Oregon Joint Interim Committee on Addiction and Community Safety announced that they plan to reverse the state’s public health approach to addiction and impose a criminal penalty for people not able to access treatment. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) has issued the below statement in response.

Statement from Kellen Russoniello, Senior Policy Counsel, Drug Policy Alliance:

“As communities across the country continue to grapple with highly visible public suffering, we need to collectively understand what is responsible for the conditions on our streets. Longstanding, active disinvestments in communities that rob people of their humanity and block their ability to access basic needs like housing and healthcare fuel public disorder. We need solutions that address the root causes of these problems, not more of the failed war on drugs. Any attempt to increase criminal penalties for drug possession will exacerbate homelessness, addiction, and racial disparities. It is clear politicians are not trying to solve the problems their constituents care most about; their only concern is getting rid of the visibility of the public harm their policies have caused.”

DPA is a proud member of the Oregonians for Safety and Recovery coalition. For their full statement in response to today’s news please see here or below.


About Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization in the U.S. working to end the drug war, repair its harms, and build a non-punitive, equitable, and regulated drug market. We envision a world that embraces the full humanity of people, regardless of their relationship to drugs. We advocate that the regulation of drugs be grounded in evidence, health, equity, and human rights. In collaboration with other movements and at every policy level, we change laws, advance justice, and save lives. Learn more at

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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