[Sarahmirk, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

Oregon Makes Drugs Illegal After Two-Year Debacle

In 2020, Democrats in Oregon implemented one of the most liberal policies in history. They effectively legalized all drugs. 

The Associated Press at the time reported, “Police in Oregon can no longer arrest someone for possession of small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other drugs as a ballot measure that decriminalized them took effect on Monday.

Instead, those found in possession would face a $100 fine or a health assessment that could lead to addiction counseling. Backers of the ballot measure, which Oregon voters passed by a wide margin in November, hailed it as a revolutionary move for the United States.”

Kassandra Frederique, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance who spearheaded the ballot initiative, bragged, “Today, the first domino of our cruel and inhumane war on drugs has fallen, setting off what we expect to be a cascade of other efforts centering health overcriminalization.” 

A few years later, like most utopian policies that cast aside common sense, the policy was a disaster, and now lawmakers are pulling the plug. 

The dominoes are all over the floor and dying. The Washington Examiner writes

The experimental law lasted three years before the lawmakers considered reversing it, and are now aiming to make small possession of drugs such as fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine illegal. The measure has already passed both state houses, and is waiting for a signature from Gov. Tina Kotek (D-OR).

“What we have tried to do is give law enforcement tools they need to intervene in the moment and hand [addicted people] off to the behavioral health mental world,” Democratic State Rep. Jason Kropfl told the Wall Street Journal. “The overarching goal is how do you sometimes give a little bit of a push to treatment.” 

Oregon has seen a steep 1,500% rise in overdose deaths since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest increase in the country, according to federal data. It also comes as the U.S. sees high fentanyl overdose rates.

The original bill that allowed recreational drug use had intended to keep drug users out of prison and into rehab. But, lawmakers found that if people had no desire to stop the drug use, and there was no punishment for using drugs, then they would continue to do so.

The Wall Street Journal noted that some liberals in Oregon are still determined to stop drugs from being illegal. 

“Civil-rights groups still opposed bringing back criminal penalties, saying they unfairly target people of color. They blamed the continuing epidemic on a lack of funding for drug-treatment programs, affordable housing and other needs.

Khanh Pham, a Democratic lawmaker who voted against the recriminalization bill, said having law enforcement go after drug users again is a waste of money. ‘This new misdemeanor system will divert scarce public dollars away from real solutions like increasing access to addiction treatment,’ she told colleagues on the House floor.

The bill’s passage in a 51-7 vote showed most people are fed up with the current approach, said Dwight Holton, chief executive of Lines for Life, a Portland nonprofit that connects people who call a state helpline to treatment services.”

Some people never learn. 

[Read More: Joe Manchin Almost Punched His Lights Out]


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