What is the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act?

Here in Oregon we just passed two ballot initiatives that will lead to profound changes for people with mental health and substance use issues, and for people who are seeking healing of all kinds. This is part two of a series of blog posts where I will be discussing these new laws, what they mean for clients and the general public, and what they mean for professionals like me.

Today we will discuss the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, which was on the ballot as Measure 110. Here is a quick overview of what is changing, and when these changes are going to happen.

What just passed?

The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act will create Addiction Recovery Centers (ARCs) throughout the state. The state will fund these centers through several different mechanisms, the most interesting of which is by decriminalizing possession of small amounts of all drugs.

What are these “addiction recovery centers” going to look like?

Each ARC will provide a lot of really great services, like these:

  • Triage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 265 days a year
  • Health Assessment that prioritizes the self-identified needs of the client
  • Individual Intervention Plan, created with a case manager
  • Intensive Case Management with daily support
  • Connection to Services and follow-up to ensure client is accessing those services
  • Peer Support
  • Outreach to clients who cannot access the ARC

What specific changes are coming and when?

Here is a timeline of important dates and events.

February 1, 2021: Drug penalties for possession will be changed. To give concrete examples I am going to talk specifically about psilocybin mushrooms, but remember that possession of small amounts of all drugs (LSD, MDMA, methamphetamine, heroin, etc.) will be treated as a violation instead of a misdemeanor. Under the new rules, if you are arrested for possessing less than 12 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, that will be a Class E violation. You will receive a $100 fine. This fine will be waived (you don’t have to pay it) if you attend an evaluation at one of these ARCs.

  • If you are arrested for possession of 12 grams or more of psilocybin mushrooms, that is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 1 year imprisonment and $6,250 in fines.

If you are arrested for manufacturing or delivering psilocybin mushrooms (the law doesn’t reference weights here so it probably doesn’t matter if you have 11 grams or 13 grams), that is a Class A felony, punishable by a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and $375,000 in fines.

June 30, 2021: A newly created Oversight and Accountability Council will adopt rules on how these Addiction Recovery Centers are to operate.

October 1, 2021: Addiction Recovery Centers come online. At least one ARC in each of Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organization service areas must be established and operational by this date.

OK, that was a lot of dates and figures. What’s an easy-to-digest takeaway?

  • Nothing is different today. The first change happens in February.
  • Using drugs will still be illegal! This is decriminalization, not legalization.
  • Possessing small amounts of illegal drugs will be a violation instead of a misdemeanor. Manufacturing (which includes growing) and delivering (which includes selling and giving away) illegal drugs will still be a felony.

Where can I learn more?

I will be writing a series of blog posts diving into all the exciting details of this program as they become available. I’m guessing the campaign website will continue to update or at least point to a new website that will be updated as we learn more.

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