U-Turn: Oregon’s Democrat Governor Signs Bill Recriminalizing Hard Drugs amid Overdose Crisis

"Jae" (L) uses fentanyl on Park Avenue following the decriminalization of all dr
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Oregon’s Democrat governor signed a bill on Monday that restores criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of drugs as the problems of addiction and overdose plague residents across the state.

In February, Gov. Tina Kotek declared a state of emergency in Portland as the number of fentanyl overdoses skyrocketed a few years after drug use was decriminalized in the state, Breitbart News reported.

Meanwhile, NBC News reported Monday the recently signed law stipulates that possession of small amounts of drugs, including heroin or methamphetamine, will be deemed a misdemeanor.

The punishment that comes with being caught with the hard drugs could land suspects in jail for up to six months, the outlet said, adding that officials will offer individuals treatment as another option when it comes to criminal penalties.

The NBC report continued:

Ensuring full coordination between the state and participating agencies, such as the criminal justice system and health providers, is vital to the law’s success, Kotek said in a letter to state legislative leaders.

“Courts, Oregon State Police, local law enforcement, defense attorneys, district attorneys, and local behavioral health providers are all critical to these conversations and necessary partners to achieve the vision for this legislation,” the letter read in part. “We must balance local programmatic design with the need to achieve statewide consistency and standardization where appropriate.”

In 2020, voters in Oregon passed the decriminalization measure that reduced penalties but was also an effort to help those struggling to get treatment.

In February, Breitbart News reported that the state’s fentanyl overdose rate rose by 1,530 percent in the past few years, a number that was the most dramatic increase rate across America.

Some Oregonians have been pleading with legislators to recriminalize the possession of hard drugs and its public use, Breitbart News reported in December.

“Despite the drug decriminalization project previously having the majority’s support, newer polls consistently show Oregonians’ minds changing about the law,” the outlet noted.

Video footage shows people doing drugs on the streets in Oregon:

As the drug crisis plagues the state, a former drug dealer who is now the executive director of Be Bold Street Ministries is helping the homeless and drug addicted, Fox News reported in February:

Matt Maceira told the outlet, “We’re out sharing the word of God with people, praying with people… We had somebody engage in treatment today, which is amazing.”


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