As part of my Mrs. Oregon International 2008 platform of alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment, I have the privilege of advocating for this important issue every day in my professional capacity as executive director for the Oregon Prevention, Education & Recovery Association (also known as OPERA).Mrs. Oregon International 2008: Measure 57 Press ConferenceToday, as part of a coalition of partners across Oregon, I joined the Oregon District Attorney's Association president and Clackamas County DA John Foote, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts, spokespersons for senior citizen issues, corrections officers, and other law enforcement professionals in a press conference. The intent? To address the important need for changes to Oregon's property crimes laws. Most often these crimes are committed by those who are severely addicted to alcohol or drugs. The measures include penalties for repeat property crimes and drugtrafficking, but only one, Measure 57 also addresses the root cause of this criminal behavior-addiction.Measure 57 & 61 are competing ballot measures who's differences are critical in terms of cost to the taxpayers of Oregon, and treatment available to address the unlaying cause of so many property crimes, untreated alcohol and drug addiction. DA John Foote addressed the fundamental differences between the two measures. Sheriff Roberts discussed the public safety issues deputies and police officers face daily as the result of alcohol and drug addicted people.When it was my turn I discussed the disease nature of addiction, and the critical need for treatment services for offenders in order to stop the cycle of crimes driven by drugs and alcohol. All were in agreement the best case for addressing offenders engaged in repeated property and identity theft crimes, and drug-trafficking is to provide enhanced sentencing for those offenses, and address through mandatory, intensive drug and alcohol treatment, the root cause of these crimes-addiction, which Measure 57 does (NOTE: Measure 61 does not provide for addiction treatment and is estimated to cost substantially more in tax revenue).As the election season moves into the final weeks, the issue of alcohol and drug addiction will continue to be elevated by these two ballot measures. It is important for Oregonians to understand the scope of the measures, the costs for both, and the potential for the most successful outcomes in reducing property crimes.To learn more about Measures 57 click the following link to listen to my remarks from the press conference.Almost without exception we all know a family member, friend, colleague or co-worker who is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, or are in recovery. It is not a hidden disease even though we often want to hide from it-and we don't always talk about it.
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