PUBLIC HEARING FRIDAY for Pathways to Recovery Act substance use disorder legislation

What: Pathways to Recovery Act public hearing in the House Public Safety Committee

When: Friday, February 12 at 10am


Why: HB 1499, the Pathways to Recovery Act, proposes a new approach to promoting recovery and improving public safety by building a fully-funded substance use disorder continuum of care in lieu of eliminating ineffective and harmful criminal penalties for possession of personal use amounts of controlled substances. The legislation recognizes that substance use disorder is a treatable brain disease from which people can and do recover if they are given access to effective services including pre-treatment outreach, treatment, and recovery support services.

No one has fallen too far into active addiction to recover, but the current system of consequences like arrest and incarceration is not effective at addressing this health condition. Instead, possession charges lead to intensified feelings of shame and worthlessness, and increased substance use. Recovery is born of hope, not of pain. A clear pathway to recovery for individuals is required. This includes focusing on the unique needs of individuals, providing evidence-based interventions, and a community that will invest in recovery.

The Pathways to Recovery Act will infuse person-centered care and resources like peer recovery coaches into every community.

The bill follows in the footsteps of Oregon’s successful 2020 ballot measure.

Who: The House Public Safety committee will hear from individuals who have been directly impacted by substance use disorder, local government officials and prosecutors, religious leaders, and international experts.

  • Stephen Eisler, person in long-term recovery with 7 previous felony possession convictions
  • Linda Robertson, lost son to overdose
  • Michelle Horne-Richburg, impacted family member
  • Mika Watson-Cheesman and Sean Wright, PATH Peer Outreach Lead and PATH Outreach Coordinator, Capital Recovery Center
  • Cindy Grande, Olympia Bupe Clinic Medical Director
  • Marc Stern, Clinical Professor, University of Washington School of Public Health
  • Keith Blocker, Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Nichole Alexander, Outreach and Engagement Staff, REACH/JustCARE Project
  • Carmen Pacheco-Jones, Director, Blue Mountain Heart to Heart
  • Ruth Dreifuss, Commissioner and former Chair, The Global Commission on Drug Policy; former President of Switzerland
  • João Augusto Castel-Branco Goulão, Director General, Portugal’s Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies General Directorate (SICAD)
  • Caitlin Hughes, Associate Professor, Flinders University (South Australia)
  • Monte Levine, Drug Policy Advocate and Health Expert
  • Meta Hogan, Staff, Gather Church
  • Meg Martin, Director, Interfaith Works