As a nurse in our community with 20 years of experience, I urge you to vote “yes” on Measure 110.

One of the most difficult and heartbreaking situations I frequently encounter is with people with substance use disorder. There are no residential recovery programs in Tillamook County, and the sole one in Clatsop County is only accessible to women with private insurance.

Instead of offering drug treatment to people who struggle with addictions, our system has traditionally incarcerated them. Frankly, the system has failed people. To a nurse, this way of dealing with people with addictions seems as irrational as jailing someone who repeatedly has high blood sugars, or who continues to smoke even after being told their lungs have been significantly damaged.

In this election we have a chance to make a difference for thousands of people here in Oregon. Measure 110 will change Oregon’s approach to people with substance use disorder from a punitive one to one of care and recovery.

Instead of criminalizing people who need health care, Measure 110 will remove unfairly harsh punishments for minor, nonviolent drug offenses, incentivize people to pursue treatment and increase access to drug treatment through the establishment of addiction recovery centers throughout the state.

Measure 110 will change the odds for so many of our friends, neighbors and family members who struggle with addiction. I support Measure 110 because it will provide people with appropriate care and treatment options for a health condition that cannot, and should not, be dealt with punitively.