Jeff Reynold at PJ Media, Overdoses Up 700% After Oregon Decriminalizes Hard Street Drugs. Officials Mystified.
In November 2020, Oregon voters approved ballot measure 110, making Oregon the first state in the nation to decriminalize the possession of hard drugs. M110 made the possession of personal use amounts of hard street drugs like heroin or meth punishable by a citation of up to $100, and directed funding to drug treatment programs. The voters bought the argument that the state could better disburse resources to treatment rather than prosecuting offenders criminally. In addition, the citation and fine could be waived if the offender called a hotline that would offer a “health assessment.”
Guess what happened next?
Officials at the Oregon Health Authority testified to legislative committees this week about the results of the program. It isn’t good. According to the Daily Mail:Oregon’s first-in-the-nation scheme to decriminalize drugs and encourage those caught possessing them to seek medical help has been blighted with problems, officials admitted on Thursday – as one Republican politician said there had been a 700 percent in overdoses in her district in the last year.Of the 1,885 people who got tickets in the first year of the program, only 91 called the hotline. Of those who called, only a handful had any interest in getting treatment.
According to an earlier report in January by Oregon Catalyst, of the 68 people who had called the hotline by that point, 49 expressed zero interest in getting help, and only 11 got connected to treatment services.
I used to call myself a libertarian, and I still have many libertarian views, but I just can't do it with hard drugs anymore. I've seen too much damage.