It wasn't long ago that Oregon had hundreds of meth labs, but due to the diligence of law enforcement, and new laws concerning the availability of pseudoephedrine, most labs have vanished.
Pseudoephedrine is an important ingredient in the recipe for "cooking" meth. Found in cold medicines such as Sudafed, Claritin and others, it was easily purchased, or stolen, from pharmacy shelves. In 2006, however, Oregon law put these cold remedies behind the counter and prescriptions are now required in order to purchase them. (Non-prescription versions of Sudafed and Claritin can be purchased over the counter, but they are new formulas not containing pseudoephedrine.)
For more information on this Oregon law, please click here
In 2008, Oregon voters passed into law a measure which prohibits courts from imposing less than a presumptive sentence for persons convicted of specified drug and property crimes under certain circumstances, and requires the Department of Corrections to provide treatment to certain offenders and to administer grant program to provide supplemental funding to local governments for certain purposes.
Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney, Gary Meabe helped write measure 57. He says the current system is broken:
"When you commit your first crime under the present system, your first felony, you get probation. Your second conviction, probation. For your third conviction the current law says you get probation. For your fourth conviction, for one of these felonies the current law says you get probation again. Finally when you get your fifth conviction for one of these felony property crimes the judge can ... but doesn't have to ... send you to prison," said Meabe.
He says Measure 57 would change that, sending property crime and drug offense criminals to prison after their second felony conviction.
"I think people will both be held accountable -- they'll spend a little bit more time away from the law abiding public. And the other thing measure 57 does -- it provides in the measure for drug treatment. So for those people who claim they have a drug problem and claim they want it fixed...they'll have that opportunity," said Meabe.
As of this writing (July 2009), Measure 57 is on hold because of budget constraints.
For more reading on Measure 57, and other Oregon drug laws, check these websites: