Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, praised a decriminalization ballot measure approved in Oregon on Election Day, calling it a “huge knock” on the war on drugs.
In a Hill.TV interview, Frederique discussed the effects of voters in Oregon decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of harder street drugs including but not limited to heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine.
“Criminalization should never be the way for people to get help,” she said. “It actually does more harm in the long run and we need to disrupt this relationship between criminalization and treatment.”
Frederique said research consistently shows that resources, such as housing and substance abuse treatment, are crucial to navigating addiction and are more effective than arrests.
According to the Vera Institute of Justice, death from a drug overdose is 129 times more likely in a person recently released from prison compared to people who haven’t been incarcerated.
“We need to invest in treatment,” Frederique said. “We need to make sure treatment is incentivized and evidence-based.”