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JUST SAY NO: Oregon Does 180, Re-Criminalizes Hard Drugs After Overdose Spike.

The Failed Liberal Experiment of Legalizing Most Drugs Had Deadly Consequences.


Photo for: JUST SAY NO: Oregon Does 180, Re-Criminalizes Hard Drugs After Overdose Spike.

The great liberal experiment is over — Oregon will criminalize hard rugs once again…

This week, Dem Gov. Tina Kotek decided that her state’s foray into decriminalizing drugs has been a failure; a 2020 law offered treatment as an alternative penalty for possession and lowered penalties. The law didn’t quite deliver the results Oregonians hoped for.

Overdoses have skyrocketed and open-air drug use is rampant. Businesses are also being forced to relocate as homeless addicts roam the streets.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s city supported the 2020 measure; three-quarters of Portlanders were behind the bill. In 2024, support has plummeted.

There’s no question that the state botched the implementation. The timing couldn’t have been worse in terms of the botched implementation,” Wheeler said. “To decriminalize the use of drugs before you actually had the treatment services in place was obviously a huge mistake.”

Or just a huge mistake regardless of the preparedness of the city’s treatment services.

“With the benefit of hindsight, the way that should have been structured is that it would create the mechanism for funding,” Wheeler added. “The state would build up its behavioral health services, and when it reached a certain threshold, then they would decriminalize. It shouldn’t have gone the other way around.”

Oregon’s experiment was a costly one. A year after decriminalizing hard drugs, drug overdoses spiked 50%, with fentanyl accounting for most deaths.

According to The Washington Examiner, “funding for treatment centers did not come under 18 months after Measure 110 passed. The Oregon Health Authority had to deal with the coronavirus pandemic as well during that time.”

“One of the things that people miss in the conversation is the context in which this intervention is being played. It’s not like the state was doing great and the state got worse. The state had nothing,” said Kassandra Frederique, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group that originally funded the ballot measure.

“The truth is that addiction rates and overdose rates skyrocketed,” Wheeler said. “I personally do not attribute all of that to the passage of Measure 110.”

“I think you can see national trends that would suggest that it wasn’t all ballot Measure 110,” Wheeler said. “But it was very easy for the public to draw a line between the passage of Measure 110, the decriminalization of hard drugs, the increase in addiction and the increase in overdoses, and criminal activity associated with drugs.”

Yes, Mr. Wheeler — it is “very easy” to draw a line.