The Oregon Catholic Conference, public policy arm of the Archdiocese of Portland and the Diocese of Baker, strongly opposes Ballot Measure 110, explaining that the proposal is a poor means to a noble goal.

Measure 110 would expand access to drug treatment in Oregon, but would pay for it by diverting funds from education, alcohol and drug abuse prevention and law enforcement. Backers of the measure also claim they could raise funds by reducing penalties for the possession and use of controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. The savings, they explain, would be realized through reduced arrests and incarceration.

“Instead of punishment, people struggling with drug addiction will be connected to treatment and recovery services,” says the statement released to voters.

The Oregon Catholic Conference, led by Archbishop Alexander Sample and Bishop Liam Cary, said in a prepared statement that the church firmly supports treatment and rehabilitation for all those suffering from addictions. But this is not the way, the statement reads, saying, “We encourage you to get behind solid programs and NOT accept an initiative that promotes the use of illegal drugs."

Pope Francis has unequivocally stated that drug use is incompatible with human life. In a 2014 address to the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome, he said, “Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise. To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem. Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called ‘recreational drugs’, are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.”