June 20, 2024

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Brittiny Raine: Invest in behavioral health services instead of building new barriers

2 min read
CORE's Brittiny Raine said the recriminalization of drug use "shows us that we are disposable, we don't matter, it's our own fault, we are in this position, and that people with no lived experience are not the experts in our lives."

A Eugene nonprofit tells lawmakers Oregon should invest in behavioral health services, not recriminalize drug use. From CORE (Community Outreach through Radical Empowerment), testifying on HB 4002 Feb. 26:

Brittiny Raine (CORE): Hi, my name is Brittiny Raine. I’m a representative of Community Outreach through Radical Empowerment. We as an agency oppose HB 4002 and all related amendments.

[00:00:25] I’m a person with lived experience, and as a young person who used drugs, jail, foster care, and the courts only created more barriers for me.

[00:00:33] HB 4002 is not a treatment-first approach. It’s a punitive and cowardly approach. A true treatment-first approach would be to invest the $500 million OHA (Oregon Health Authority) just reported is needed to fill the gap in BHRN (Behavioral Health Resource Network) services.

[00:00:46] John Q: BHRN is the acronym for Behavioral Health Resource Network.

[00:00:50] Brittiny Raine (CORE): The group of police that spoke earlier pointed out that cops can’t do what navigators and service providers can do, and they can’t do it without accountability. I disagree.

[00:01:00] As a BHRN provider, we don’t stop getting requests for services, and we don’t criminalize anybody. We don’t take referrals from the courts. Criminalization is lazy, and you’re participating in political theater. HB 4002 has failed to involve and implement the voices of BHRN providers, Black and Brown folks, and people with lived experience. Yet the police, courts, and counties’ voices are clearly shown in this bill. There’s collaboration between them.

[00:01:25] Yet you swear you want collaboration. However, we’re never invited to the table. This doesn’t show your dedication to collaborating and your actions are speaking louder than words. The safest communities don’t have the most police or jails, but the most amount of access to resources.

[00:01:38] This bill fails to do this.

[00:01:42] The members of the committee, I’m asking you to use your critical thinking skills to deconstruct the rugged individualism bootstrap bullsh** we have all internalized and consider the intentional barriers you are now building into our communities.

[00:01:53] If HB 4002 passes, it shows us that we are disposable, we don’t matter, it’s our own fault, we are in this position, and that people with no lived experience are not the experts in our lives.

[00:02:06] Based on the prior public hearings, this legislation is showing that you listen to the voices that fit your own narrative. We are also your constituents. Our voice matters, not just the ones that fit within your own moral compass.

[00:02:18] I invite you to do the hard thing, which is shy away from this band aid approach… We need you to do better.

[00:02:23] John Q: Eugene’s Brittiny Raine testifying at the legislature Feb. 26th. The House passed HB 4002 Feb. 29 by a vote of 51-7, and the Senate followed March 1, 21-8. If signed by the governor, it will go into effect immediately.

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