Oregon’s drug treatment campaign turns in 143,000 signatures

May 21, 2020

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Devon Downeysmith
Communications Director
503-308-1373
press@yesonip44.org

The More Treatment, A Better Oregon campaign will keep collecting signatures to ensure qualification for the ballot, and has also secured over 40 organizational endorsers from around Oregon.

Oregon’s campaign to expand drug treatment announced that it will turn in more than 143,000 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State tomorrow.

That’s significantly more than the 112,020 signatures needed to qualify the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act for the November ballot. Still, the campaign said it plans to keep collecting signatures up until July 2, the last day the Secretary of State will accept them.

“We’re close, but we still don’t think we have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot,” said Campaign Manager, Peter Zuckerman. “Some of the signatures being turned in could be invalid because, for example, the person who signed has illegible handwriting and could not be verified to be a registered Oregon voter.”

Since the pandemic, many Oregon ballot measure campaigns have folded because they’ve been unable to collect signatures quickly enough. The More Treatment campaign, which began collecting signatures in December, changed its approach, asking volunteers to print and mail in the petition.

“One of the reasons we’ve been able to still gather thousands of signatures during the shutdown is because more and more people are realizing that we need this initiative right now more than ever,” said Janie Gullickson, a chief petitioner and the executive director of the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon.

“Before COVID-19, Oregon already ranked nearly last in the nation in providing basic access to drug treatment,” she said. “The isolation and stress from the pandemic has made our state’s addiction crisis even worse. That’s why I’m helping lead the campaign to pass IP 44 and get more treatment and recovery services to more people, in more parts of Oregon.”

The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, or Initiative Petition 44, is designed to establish a more humane and effective approach to drug addiction. If approved by voters in November, the measure would expand access to treatment and recovery services across the state, paid for with taxes from legal marijuana sales. Instead of arrests and criminal punishments, people with addictions would be able to get the help they need. The initiative does not legalize any drugs.

44 endorsements for Initiative Petition 44

The campaign announced that initiative Petition 44 has now secured support from more than 40
organizations. Endorsing organizations include:

  • The oldest and largest recovery organization in Oregon (the Alano Club).
  • The union that represents frontline healthcare workers and prison workers (AFSCME
    Oregon).
  • Equity-focused groups, such as the Latino Health Coalition, Unite Oregon, and PCUN.

Hundreds of high-profile individuals also support the campaign, including:

  • Ed Blackburn, retired Executive Director of Central City Concern;
  • Richard Harris, retired Director of Mental Health and Addiction for the State of Oregon;
  • Two retired US Attorneys for the state of Oregon, two District Attorneys and several
    retired law enforcement officers.
  • A partial list of supportive individuals can be found on the campaign’s website.

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