The Oregon campaign behind a ballot initiative to decriminalize drug possession and expanding funding for substance misuse treatment is rolling out a series of TV and online ads promoting the measure.
The advertisements, which feature people from a diversity of backgrounds speaking to their personal experiences with the drugs and the criminal justice system, come as mail-in ballots are being distributed to registered voters.
Thematically, the short spots are consistent in their message: low-level drug offenses should be treated as a public health issue, and subjecting people to the criminal justice system for substance use is counterproductive and carries life-long consequences.
Here’s each new ad, along with their scripts:
Hubert Matthews (TV)
“My name is Hubert. I’m a veteran. I’m a father. I’m a productive member of society. Now that I’ve been clean for 10 years, I go into the criminal justice system courts and let the system know, look, jail is not going to help this person. We need to get this person some treatment. This is why I know that treatment is the answer to helping people change their lives, not the criminal justice system. I know Measure 110 will help me be able to help more people. Help us by supporting Measure 110.”
Amelia Fowler (TV)
“My dad was always my biggest cheerleader. He was always behind me, 1,000 percent. But he struggled with drug addiction. He wanted to quit using, but couldn’t. We couldn’t find him treatment and support. He died of an overdose last November. I’m supporting Measure 110 to provide treatment and recovery services, not punishment for possession of a small amount of drugs. Putting people in jail ruins families, when treatment can help families. Yes on 110 will help.”
Katie, RN (TV)
“I’m a nurse who treats patients with addictions. We know a jail term isn’t good drug treatment. It ruins lives, makes it hard to get a job, credit or an apartment when you get out. Measure 110 fixes that. It just says people won’t get jail time simply for possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead, they get connected to treatment or recovery services, including housing assistance to help them get their lives back on track. Vote yes on Measure 110.”
Katy Wagner, high school principal (Online)
“Vote for drug treatment instead of punishment. 110 can redirect money that we’re already receiving to support our kids and our families where they most desperately need it. It can completely change someone’s life. Vote yes on 110.”
Donell Morgan (Online)
“The first time I ever voted, I was 18. I had to stand in line and I was excited, man, and I’ve voted every year. It’s important because so many people died and fought for this right. With George Floyd, with a pandemic, it’s probably the first time in my lifetime that black people have the opportunity to be heard. Measure 110 is going to give adults, not just in the African American community, but people of all colors, the opportunity to fail safely. We don’t want failure to become who you are. My name is Donnell Morgan, I’m the executive director of Elevate Oregon, and I’m voting yes on 110.”
Janie Gullickson (Online)
“My name is Janie Gullickson. I was addicted to drugs for over 22 years. For five of those years, I spent more time in county jails than I did free. Treatment was never offered. Treatment was the turning point. This ballot measure funds treatment and recovery services. It decriminalizes addiction. That saves lives.”
The advertisements will reach more voters thanks to a recent $500,000 campaign contribution from a foundation run by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife.
The new spots aren’t the first ads that Oregonians may have seen from the campaign. It launched its first video urging a “yes” vote on the decriminalization initiative in August.
They’s also not the only ads promoting a far-reaching drug policy reform proposal that are being aired in the state. The campaign behind a separate initiative to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes is reaching voters through a TV ad that was released earlier this month that features a state lawmaker who is also a medical doctors. Activists are also using billboards to highlight the medical potential of the psychedelic.
A nonprofit veterans group recently released a separate TV ad touting the benefits of psilocybin therapy. It doesn’t explicitly mention the psychedelic reform measure, but it could help further inform how voters approach that question nonetheless.
For the broader drug decriminalization proposal, advocates are also getting a congressional boost. In a Facebook post, the campaign shared a quote from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has endorsed the initiative.
“One of the most urgent issues we face is the unconscionable shortage of drug treatment for people who want help as they struggle with drug addiction,” the congressman said. “Instead of providing treatment, we treat them as criminals, making things incalculably worse for them, their families and the rest of the community while wasting huge sums of money.”
“That is why I am such a strong supporter of Ballot Measure 110,” he said. “Measure 110 will help shift Oregon to a health-based approach to a health-based drug addiction crisis. This is more compassionate, more effective, safer, and simple common sense. Please join me in voting Yes on Measure 110.”
Blumenauer has also backed the psilocybin initiative.