Grants Pass Sobering Center already seeing effects of Measure 110 reform

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Grants Pass Sobering Center has been helping community members working toward sobriety since 2016.

“People are referred here by either law enforcement, the medical community, treatment facilities, or are self-referred and they come here to reach some level of sobriety,” said Marie Hill, the director of the Grants Pass Sobering Center.

Even with Measure 110 rules in place, nearly half of all referrals to the center last year came from law enforcement.

“In 2023, we had 1,337 referrals, about 600 of those were referred by police officers,” Hill said.

Each room in this facility include a mattress, blankets, a toilet and sink. When people come to the facility, the rooms are locked and secured while going through the sobriety process.

While the rooms look similar to jail cells, people can only be held in a sobering center for up to 24 hours according to Oregon laws.

“The magic of what happens here really happens upon release,” Hill said.

Operations manager Heather Getz says ever since the 2024 legislative session wrapped up, the center has been busier than usual.

“I think it’s gotten a whole lot busier in the last couple weeks ever since this mention of the house bill,” Getz said. “I think it’s going to be good.”

House Bill 4002 was signed into law by Governor Tina Kotek earlier this week. It passed through the House and Senate with bipartisan support during the short 2024 legislative session.

The bill changes some aspects of the voter-approved Measure 110, including re-criminalizing certain drug possession cases.

Getz says in her experience, incentive is important when it comes to addiction recovery.

“I know that at least with our peer support program, it seems like we’re able to reach individuals at a whole new level since there’s going to be consequences,” she explained.

The sobering center is working right now on a strategic plan to help prepare for changes coming thanks to HB 4002 and its subsequent funding for treatment centers.

The plan is expected to be finished later this month.

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Taylar Ansures is a producer and reporter for NBC5 News. Taylar is from Redding, California and went to California State University, Chico. After graduating, she joined KRCR News Channel 7 in Redding as a morning producer. She moved to Southern Oregon in 2022 to be closer to family and became KTVL News 10’s digital producer. Taylar is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Professional Creative Writing through the University of Denver. In her free time, Taylar frequents independent bookstores and explores hiking trails across Southern Oregon and Northern California.
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