Smith: Legislature must protect citizens from crime while working to end substance abuse

By on Thursday, November 16th, 2023 in Columbia Basin News Featured Stories More Top Stories

HEPPNER – State Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) said he believes that Measure 110 can be fixed by the Oregon Legislature, but cautions it won’t be a quick fix.

“It’s not going to be easy because, at the end of the day, you have to have justice and at the same time what I’m asking for is an ounce of mercy,” he said. “Finding that balance between those who break the law and those who commit crimes against their neighbors, there does have to be justice. But we also do need to figure out how do we break the trend.”

Smith said in the 2024 session he looks forward to working with both parties to try to break the cycle.

“At the end of the day, there’s no doubt we need to be focused on that effort to assist our schools, assist our communities, and assist our businesses,” he said. “That will be my priority in February.”

Meanwhile, Republican senators don’t want to wait until February. They sent a letter to Gov. Tina Kotek yesterday urging her to declare a state of emergency on Measure 110 and to convene a special session to address Oregon’s drug addiction crisis.

“On average, three Oregonians die each day from an unintended drug overdose,” the letter states. “Since the implementation of Measure 110, all drug overdoses rose 61 percent and fentanyl overdoses rose nearly 600 percent.”