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7. That’s a low number out of 1,491. It’s less than 1%. 1,491 is the number of people cited for Class E violations through Oct. 31 under the new Oregon penalties that decriminalized most unlawful possession of controlled substances. The citations are mostly for methamphetamine. That’s 67% of the time. The next most frequent is for heroin, 22% of the time.

The decriminalization comes from Ballot Measure 100. Approved by voters, it set the stage. It created the new Class E violation for many offenses. It’s punishable by a maximum fine of $100. The goal: A worthy one — to shift Oregon away from punishing people for addiction and move them into treatment.

But out of those 1,491 citations, it only may have worked 7 times. Only 7 times did courts get notice that people had sought a health assessment or screening, according to numbers provided this week to the House Interim Committee on the Judiciary. It would be hard to argue that with only 7 instances the problem is simply the absence of treatment options.

The rate at which people charged with Class E violations fail to appear in court is high. About 66% of them never show. Those cases result in convictions, because the person failed to appear. But those convictions don’t necessarily translate into people getting treatment.

The way Measure 100 was written, the teeth that are normally there to ensure people show up in court are not there. Part of the measure specified that there would be no additional charges for not showing up in court or not paying the fine.

The Oregon Judicial Department is making some minor tweaks that may improve the way Measure 110 works. Right now, it’s essentially up to the person charged with a Class E violation who has sought out a screening or an assessment to report that to the court themselves. A system is being developed to report it electronically. It could give a better indication that people are actually taking a step toward seeking treatment.

A uniform citation document for Class E violations is also being developed. Right now, law enforcement officers in many cases have to hand people two pieces of paper — the citation and information about treatment. A uniform citation for use across the state could sum it all up in one document. It’s a small thing. It might be easier for people to keep track of. The Oregon Supreme Court would have to approve a uniform citation.

The odd thing is in Oregon you can get into more trouble for a speeding ticket than you can for possession of methamphetamine. Maybe that is right. Measure 110 was born of good intentions. It’s hard to see, though, that those intentions translated into a policy that works.

The point of Measure 110 is “not to criminalize addiction, but we have to figure out how to interrupt the behavior” and get people into treatment, said state Rep. Janelle Bynum, a Democrat and the chair of the House Interim Committee on the Judiciary.

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