Outside In’s Haven Wheelock wrote an article for Johns Hopkins Magazine on why she supported Measure 110 and decriminalizing simple drug possession.
“As someone who is on the front lines of the addiction crisis, I have seen the devastating effects that criminalization has on people who use drugs. The shame of arrest and the trauma of incarceration stay with people long after they are released from jail. They are also harmful to healing. I have known people who were released from jail only to die days later of an overdose. I have friends who struggle, still, after years of sobriety, to find housing and employment because of drug charges. I have heard countless stories of people who avoid calling 911 during an overdose because of the fear of arrest.
This measure brings me real hope that we as a society are beginning to embrace a public health approach to substance use. People do not heal through punishment. People heal when they have the tools to be healthier, the resources and supports they need, and the belief that they can change.
I am hopeful that Oregon can set an example that a health-focused approach is not only possible but the right approach to the disease of addiction.”