Left-wing Oregon decriminalized drugs, and the results are predictably catastrophic.
In 2020, 58 percent of Oregon voters approved a ballot measure that decriminalized the hardest of hard drugs, including cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and meth. If you are caught holding a small amount of these drugs, the only punishment is a $100 ticket. Put another way, holding and doing hard drugs in Oregon is the equivalent of a busted taillight.
Even so, unlike a taillight, the state makes it easy to get out of the drug ticket. All you need do is call a hotline for some kind of health assessment.
Per Fox News, the results are catastrophic for people and neighborhoods. A mere 16 months after this approach went into effect, “overdose deaths hit an all-time high in 2021 with 1069, a 41% increase from 2020.” And pretty much no one is seeking treatment, when getting people into treatment was the primary selling point of the ballot measure: “According to The Lund Report, after one year, just 136 people had entered treatment, less than 1% of those helped by Measure 110. But the actual number may be even lower.”
The range of the fallout goes beyond drug users:
“What we’re absolutely seeing is that as drug possession has been decriminalized, property crimes have increased and so has violent crime,” said District Attorney Kevin Barnett of Washington County, Oregon. Police in rural parts 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 an all-time record with 90 murders in 2021. Police in Multnomah County link these to Measure 110, saying there’s been a rise in homicides tied to drug turf wars between gangs.
“The streets of downtown Portland, Oregon, resemble an open-air drug market,” adds Fox News. Hard drug use is “rampant and often visible on city streets. Portland police officers drive by homeless addicts buying and using.”
Currently, of all 50 states, Oregon has the second-highest rate of per capita addiction. An incredible one in five adults is now a drug addict.
People — well, dumb people — always say, “What’s the difference between drugs and alcohol?” The differences are legion. To begin with, it is much more difficult to become addicted to alcohol. Then there’s the fact that alcohol is not always consumed with the sole purpose of getting high or drunk. The sole purpose behind any drug is to get loaded.
Stigmas are important. Stigmas work. Once you remove the stigma from something, people begin to believe it’s not too bad or too dangerous. Well, if the state doesn’t make such a big deal about a little heroin or meth, why should I? It can’t be that dangerous, right?
And then, before you know it, those drugs have gotten ahold of you, and your life is either forever ruined or altered because that addiction is something you will fight 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 prison. My heart breaks for addicts. Those who sincerely want to get their life together should be given at least the chance to do so.
But if your heart breaks for addicts, that same heart should 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, Democrat voters by way of a ballot measure. These idiots worry about everything but what matters, and the fallout is always the same: more death and lowered quality of life.