Oregon sheriffs: Drug possession should be misdemeanor

Plan: People caught with "user-amount" of drugs face misdemeanors, get treatment

Pills, file. (Flickr Creative Commons via e-Magine Art)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a dramatic shift in approach, top law enforcement officials in Oregon now recommend people caught with a “user-amount” of drugs face misdemeanors and should get treatment.

In a release Monday afternoon, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police said felonies attached to these low-level user crimes “include unintended and collateral consequences including barriers to housing and employment and a disparate impact on minority communities.”

They want to work with elected officials and district attorneys to “craft a more thoughtful approach to drug possession when it is the only crime committed.”

The plan calls for users to get treatment in the effort to address their substance abuse and prevent future crimes. The groups want prosecutors to keep having access to specialty drug courts and that “mandated assessments and treatment” go along with this policy change.

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