Re: “Buoyed by Oregon drug decriminalization vote, Washington groups propose similar plan for 2021 Legislature” [Nov 4., Local Politics]:

First, I must congratulate the state of Oregon on its landmark initiative, the Treatment and Recovery Act, that passed overwhelmingly in the election Tuesday. As a substance-use disorder counselor for the past 10 years, I have encountered this as an option in many settings and completely agree with the decriminalization of small “personal” amounts of illicit substances and the entry into treatment.

To be able to implement the same or a similar program in Washington would be a step in the right direction, in my opinion, in promoting recovery for our citizens. These measures would also increase state funding for substance use disorder treatment and education for our children around the potential harmful effects of substances. I believe Molly Carney, former executive director of Seattle’s Evergreen Treatment Center, truly said it best when in the article she was quoted that we need to “stop criminalizing a public health problem.”

As a third-year Master of Social Work student at the University of Washington Tacoma, I am completing a capstone project that is centered on making substance-use treatment more readily available in a harm-reduction fashion. I appreciate that the Washington s te Legislature may make this initiative a reality in the future.

Lauren Kula, Tacoma