KPQ speaks with Senate Majority Leader on the Future of Drug Laws
The Washington State Legislature is expected to introduce a bill next week that will address the state's drug possession laws.
In 2021, the State Supreme Court ruled Washington’s felony drug possession statute unconstitutional because it made possession a felony.
It's now a misdemeanor, but state Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig says permanent solutions are needed.
"We can accomplish that goal of much smarter drug possession law by focusing on public health. We also need the criminal justice system to be involved. Drug possession is driven by addiction and addiction is health issue." Billig said.
After the bill's sponsor, Senator June Robinson, introduces the bill next week, Senator Billing says he expects it to receive bi-partisan support.
"Even people who are 'want to be tough on crime' understand that you actually haven't made the community safer if you put somebody in jail for drug addiction and not help them to beat that addiction." Billig added.
Meanwhile, drug overdoses in Washington and around the nation have risen considerably in the last couple years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has Washington State ranked 22nd in the country for overdose death rates.