The Consequences Have Arrived

On Tuesday, The Conservative Review posted an article detailing what has happened in Oregon as a result of decriminalizing the possession of hard drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in 2020.

The article reports:

Oregon became the first state in the union to decriminalize possession of hard drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in 2020. This radical experiment in lawlessness has been an unmitigated disaster.

While initially deaf to the concerns raised by Republicans, recovery specialists, and Christian groups concerning Ballot Measure 110, state Democrats are now poised to re-criminalize drug possession and bring their four-year experiment to an end. After all, the majority of Oregonians want the measure repealed.

…The so-called “Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act” eliminated criminal penalties for possession of various quantities of hard drugs. As a result, junkies can now carry one gram of heroin; 2 grams of cocaine; 2 grams of meth; less than 40 user units of methadone; 1 gram or 5 pills of MDMA; less than 40 user units of LSD; and fewer than 40 pills of oxycodone.

Possession of such quantities amounts to a non-criminal Class E violation, which at most can result in a $100 fine or a recommendation for a health assessment with an addiction treatment professional.

Those caught with even more of these once-controlled substances have also seen penalties softened, such that they now face a misdemeanor charge with less than a year in jail, a fine, or both.

Extra to decriminalizing hard drugs, the measure mandated the establishment or funding of recovery centers throughout the state funded by taxes on marijuana.

The article lists the results of the law:

According to Oregon Health Authority data, fatal overdoses have skyrocketed in recent years. In 2020, there were 824 fatal overdoses. The year M110 went into effect, there were 1,189 fatal overdoses. Preliminary data indicates the number of deaths from overdoses in 2022 was north of 1,100.

Fentanyl is proving especially lethal. OregonLive.com noted that in the year ending September 2019, there were 77 known fentanyl deaths. In the year ending September 2023, there were reportedly 1,268 overdose deaths.

There appears to be a correlation between fatal overdoses and M110.

Please follow the link for further details and possible solutions. This really should not be a Republican/Democrat or Liberal/Conservative issue. I believe all of us want to protect our children and young adults from the dangers of hard drugs. Hopefully Oregon will pass a law that moves the state in that direction.

But It Looked Really Good On Paper

On Monday, Hot Air posted an article about Measure 110, passed in Oregon in 2020. The law decriminalized the possession and use of small quantities of virtually all hard drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamines. The idea of the law was to change the focus from jailtime to rehabilitation.

The article reports:

The results of this move have been spectacular, provided you were hoping for it to be spectacularly bad. Particularly in cities like Portland, citizens are unable to walk the streets without tripping over addicts who are shooting up or passed out on the sidewalk. This reality has an increasing number of people rethinking the policy and talk of repealing Measure 110 is growing. (Associated Press)

…Decriminalization has now been attempted in multiple American cities and it has failed every single time. There isn’t one place you can point to where decriminalization has resulted in fewer overdose deaths and more people recovering in treatment programs. The opposite is what has happened.

Republicans in Oregon are reportedly pushing the Governor to call a special session to repeal the measure and criminalize both possession and public drug use. They are also asking for rehabilitation treatment to be mandatory instead of voluntary as it is now. The second part of that proposal is probably doomed to failure, however. It’s almost impossible to force someone into an addiction treatment program if they aren’t ready to seek help for themselves. If you do that, they’ll probably just be biding their time until they are released and can go search for their next fix.

Every parent knows that it is easier to ignore your child’s bad behavior than to deal with it. However, at some point you have to deal with it and the sooner you deal with it, the easier it will be. Somehow our ‘public servants’ have never grasped this concept.

The article concludes:

This was always predictable, or at least it should have been. When you remove the disincentive for a particular behavior and make it easier to engage in that behavior, you’re going to wind up with more of it. Given the addictive nature of the drugs in question, once the line has been crossed it’s very difficult to walk it back. The rise in homelessness was also a predictable result. If people with jobs become addicted to opioids, their performance at work will begin to go downhill. When they eventually lose their jobs, they have little else to occupy their time beyond looking to score drugs. Unable to pay the rent, they eventually wind up out in the street. This really shouldn’t be confusing to any of these politicians. The only question now is whether they can find the intestinal fortitude to admit their error and try to put the state back on an even keel.

Let’s learn from out mistakes!

 

 

This Is Not Going To End Well

CBS News is reporting today that Oregon is the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of street drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

The article reports:

The Oregon drug initiative will allow people arrested with small amounts of hard drugs to avoid going to trial, and possible jail time, by paying a $100 fine and attending an addiction recovery program. The treatment centers will be funded by revenues from legalized marijuana, which was approved in Oregon several years ago.

“Today’s victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which backed the measure.

…Voters in New Jersey and Arizona approved measures legalizing marijuana for adults age 21 and older. In New Jersey, the Legislature now will have to pass another measure setting up the new marijuana marketplace. The Arizona measure also allows people convicted of certain marijuana crimes to seek expungement of their records. The passage of the measure signaled a change of attitudes, after Arizona voters narrowly defeated a legal pot proposal in 2016.

South Dakota on Tuesday became the first state where voters authorized both recreational marijuana and medical marijuana via two separate initiatives in the same election. The legalization of recreational marijuana was approved by voters in Montana, and medical marijuana won approval in Mississippi.

I am not in favor of the legalization of marijuana. There are no guarantees that legal marijuana will be limited to those over 21–how many people under the age of 21 smoke cigarettes illegally? I am not convinced we understand the effect of marijuana on the brain of people under the age of 25. Legalizing marijuana does not improve our society–it simply reduces the productive impact of one sector of that society. Marijuana and other drugs have never been a positive force in any society.

Actions Have Consequences

One of the many contentious battles that President Trump has had to fight was the battle to erect a border wall. A large part of that wall has been built, and there are consequences. Today The Washington Examiner posted an article about some of the impact of that wall.

The article reports:

Border Patrol agents who work in the Pacific Ocean off the southern coast of California saw a dramatic increase in the number of arrests made over the past 12 months, an indication that the addition of new border wall in the region since 2017 is prompting smugglers to find new ways to move people and drugs into the United States.

“Over the past year, within 2020, we’ve had a record number of marine interdictions, including pangas [small, fast boats], jet skis, swimmers, and paddle boaters,” Border Patrol San Diego Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke told the Washington Examiner during a land and sea tour. “The wall structure itself is solidifying the land border, and it’s forcing the smugglers to come out into the maritime environment.”

Agents, using jet skis and boats to patrol the 20-mile stretch from Chula Vista at the border up past downtown San Diego, made 302 interdictions in fiscal 2020, which ran from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, compared to 195 the previous year and 88 in 2015. One such incident resulted in the seizure of a small boat that was loaded with more than 3,000 pounds of methamphetamine.

Arrests of illegal immigrants and smugglers jumped 92% from 662 in 2019 to 1,271 in 2020. Comparatively, 219 people were arrested in 2015.

The article concludes:

Border Patrol’s San Diego region has seen 53 miles of border wall added to its 60-mile area of responsibility, including the duplicate fencing. A small portion of the new wall was completed with funding from the final year of the Obama administration, but most was funded in federal budgets passed during the Trump administration. The foundation of the double-layer fencing goes up to 10 feet below the ground, preventing people from digging shallow tunnels into the U.S., as was possible with the Clinton-era metal scraps. It stretches from 18 feet to 30 feet tall and is comprised of steel fence posts filled with concrete and rebar. It starts at the coast and goes up into the mountains in Otay Mesa, California, significantly further than the scrap metal that was taken out. Construction teams are in the process of completing the wall over the mountains, a seemingly impossible task for how steep the terrain is here.

Agents in San Diego said this new wall and the technology that comes with it will be hard to get past for most people and will funnel others to areas where agents are present because they have been freed up to focus on less secure areas as a result of the new wall. Those who do attempt to climb over the wall will be better detected thanks to new cameras, sensors, radar systems, and underground fiber optic systems.

Border Patrol officials had expected smugglers to try new approaches, including taking to the water. Heitke said smugglers who do choose to go the boat route are being tracked, oftentimes by the cellphone they leave behind in a boat or when it is seized after they are arrested.

“The smuggler has a phone with them,” said Heitke. “We can dump the information on the phone and find the routes saying where they’re going, and we’re able to see an enormous range of travel, whether they go out 50 miles or 100 miles out, whether [they] go up 50 or 100 miles to land.”

How many drug overdoses have been prevented because President Trump fought Congress to build a wall?