Left-wing Oregon has decriminalized drugs and the results are predictably catastrophic.
In 2020, 58 percent of Oregon voters approved a ballot measure that decriminalized the hardest hard drugs, including cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and meth. If caught holding a small amount of these drugs, the only penalty is a $100 ticket. In other words, holding and using hard drugs in Oregon is the equivalent of a broken taillight.
Still, unlike a taillight, the state makes it easy to get out of the drug ticket. All you need to do is call a hotline for some sort of health assessment.
According to Fox News, the results are catastrophic for people and neighborhoods. Just 16 months after this approach went into effect, “overdose deaths hit a record high of 1,069 in 2021, a 41% increase from 2020.” And virtually no one is seeking treatment, while getting people into treatment was the main selling point of the ballot measure: “According to the Lund report, after one year, only 136 people were in treatment, less than 1% of those helped by Meet 110. But the actual number may be even lower.”
The range of consequences extends beyond drug users:
“What we are definitely seeing is that as drug possession has been decriminalized, property crime has increased and so has violent crime,” said Washington County, Oregon, District Attorney Kevin Barnett. Police in rural areas of Oregon also tell Fox News they are seeing more theft as people steal to feed their addiction.
Portland, the state’s largest city, set a record 90 homicides in 2021. Police in Multnomah County link this to measure 110 and say there has been an increase in homicides related to gang wars.
“The streets of downtown Portland, Oregon, resemble an open-air drug market,” adds Fox News. The use of hard drugs is “rampant and often visible on city streets. Portland police officers drive past homeless addicts who buy and use.”
Currently, of all 50 states, Oregon has the second highest rate of addiction per capita. An incredible one in five adults is now a drug addict.
People – well, stupid people – always say, “What’s the difference between drugs and alcohol?” The differences are legion. For starters, it is much more difficult to become addicted to alcohol. Then there’s the fact that alcohol isn’t always consumed for the sole purpose of getting high or drunk. The sole purpose behind any drug is to get charged.
Stigmas are important. Stigmas work. Once you remove the stigma from something, people start to believe it isn’t too bad or too dangerous. Well, if the state doesn’t make such a big deal about a little heroin or meth, then why should I? It can’t be that dangerous can it?
And then before you know it, those drugs have got you, and your life is either ruined or changed forever, because that addiction is something you’ll be fighting for the rest of your life.
On one level, I agree with the new thinking behind addiction. We should at least try rehab before throwing someone in jail. My heart breaks for addicts. Those who sincerely want to get their lives on track should at least be given the opportunity to do so.
But if your heart breaks for addicts, that same heart must rage against a state that is deliberately creating more and more addicts through the insane idea of decriminalization.
This is what happens when Democrats rule, including, in this case, Democratic voters through a ballot measure. These idiots worry about everything but what matters, and the consequences are always the same: more death and reduced quality of life.