Alan Yorgason, Utah State Senate District 20


Why did you decide to run for public office?

Although I have many issues I feel strongly about, my primary incentive is that I feel that the voices of Utahns are not being heard. The single-party system is not responsive to the citizens, but seems to be more attuned to the needs of special interests. I will enter the Senate as an independent voice with an attentive ear to what really needs to be done. 

What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.?

I prepared academically as a secondary teacher, teaching English in public schools for 5 years. I left teaching, looking for a profession that would better support my family, and after a few false starts, I ended up in information technology, from which I will retire within the year.

What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse?

I am baffled that we get so many things, so wrong, in our society relative to drug policies. Substance abuse needs to be treated rather than criminalized. My immediate personal experience is null, but I have seen friends, relatives, and other acquaintances hurt, and even destroyed, by drug abuse. 

Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?

I personally support a medical cannabis program. My feeling, is that such a program could provide a much safer relief to those suffering from certain illnesses that are being currently treated with dangerous, expensive, and addictive drugs. 

What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?

I have seen a family member die of a drug overdose. For me, I see drug addiction as a very close and ever-present danger. The steps the DPPU outline in their brief letter seem like a good start.  There must be good communication among the involved people and programs to help move victims from the problem to the education needed to fix the problem, and consideration of funding for such programs, of course.

Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.

I'm in 100% agreement with that assessment.

Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.

I am not familiar with organizations that propose the principle of harm reduction, although I'm sure that DPPU does and I endorse this approach. 

What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.

Your statement echo’s my feelings. I don't know that I need to elaborate: don't criminalize, but treat. Leave law enforcement available for crimes that harm us.

Are you interested in sponsoring drug policy reform legislation if you were elected? What would be some specific areas of focus or interest for you?

I would be interested in pursuing legislation that would move toward the goals you propose here. I'm most certainly interested in achieving positive legislation on medical marijuana. That is, in fact, one of the issues that ignited my interest to run this year.

Anything else?

Thank you for the work you do. I look forward to seeing your organization lead us in this important area. If I should be elected to the Utah Senate, I will be interested in working with you.

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