Oregon’s Secretary of State has released an audit on Measure 110, the 2020 ballot initiative that decriminalized possession of small drug amounts and to provide more funding for treatment.
A synopsis by the secretary’s office found that funds from the measure “have expanded community-based treatment and recovery services for drug and alcohol use,” but that providers have spent just over one-third of grant funds in the first year. This lack of spending could pose a problem for vulnerable populations because key services under Measure 110 may not reach those who need it the most.
This report was released as Measure 110 comes under increased fire, with growing calls for Oregon lawmakers to make changes in the upcoming legislative session due to the trend of overdoses and public drug use in the state.
Some key findings from the report, according to the secretary’s office:
- The $260 million in grants has successfully helped expand community-based services and, despite some challenges, helped deliver accessible services to highly vulnerable people.
- Measure 110’s Oversight and Accountability Council prioritized cultural competence among grantees. This focus is likely to improve service access statewide and help address inequities in substance use treatment and outcomes.
- Behavioral Health Resource Networks (BHRN) providers have increased spending and clients served, but the first year of reporting showed limited spending and services. During this time, there was difficulty hiring staff and other challenges, meaning some of Oregon’s 42 networks may not yet be providing all required services.
- It’s not clear how many providers of culturally specific services were funded to help serve populations most affected by the war on drugs, an important part of the measure. Auditors found the grant process needs improvement to better attract community-based applicants.
- The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) publishes BHRN spending and the number of clients served, but the agency could better demonstrate impact through additional reporting on staffing, services, and capital expenditures.
- OHA is developing a new system for collecting more detailed behavioral health service data, but it remains uncertain if the agency will have adequate data to demonstrate M110’s effectiveness.