In November 2020, 58 percent of Portland voters passed Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs such as heroin, meth, cocaine and fentanyl. As a result, the use of hard drugs has actually increased in the state, according to law enforcement.
Oregon now ranks as the second-highest U.S. state for substance abuse. Almost one out of five adults are now addicted to drugs and the experiment to decriminalize them is a notable failure.
Watch NBC 8 KGW’s coverage of the results of Measure 110.
The new law makes the possession of controlled substances a Class E charge punishable with a $100 fine and perpetrators are invited to call a toll-free number to undergo a drug evaluation instead of paying the fine. This puts it on the same plane as a traffic ticket. The goal of the law was focus on treatment over the criminalization of drug use.
Since the law was passed 16 months ago, the numbers are not looking good. In 2021, drug overdose deaths hit the highest they ever have. There was a 41% increase from 2020 with 1069 people dying in 2021. There has also been very little evidence that more people are getting treatment. According to the Lund Report, only 136 people have gone into treatment. That’s less than a one percent increase.
According to a senior fellow in the Hudson Institute, David Murray, who advised two presidents, the terrible results of the program could have been foreseen.
“It is predictable, was predicted and now, unfortunately, is coming to pass in front of our eyes,” said Murray, “It is a tragedy and a self-inflicted wound.”
The state also reallocated $100 million from the cannabis-tax fund for drug-treatment programs to help increase treatment effectiveness.
The measure was funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, American Civil Liberties Union, and Drug Policy Action – a group affiliated with George Soros. Supporters of the measure said that it would make drug treatment more humane and help manage addictions.
One major flaw in the law is most people charged usually ignore the citation and don’t enroll in drug treatment programs.
Since the passing of measure 110 up until the end of May, police have written 2,576 tickets for drug possession. Seventy-five percent led to convictions because the perpetrator never came to court. This means that many of the drug addicts never took advantage of the rehab programs available.
When the law passed, many left-wing groups touted Portland’s decriminalization of hard drugs as a model for the rest of the nation. Watch coverage of the law after it was passed.
According to Dwight Holton, CEO Of Lines for Life, only 116 people have called the help hotline provided by the state to void their ticket. He told Fox that 66 of those only did so to void the ticket. He said that an additional 26 of those people were already in rehab services.
“About 20% — 24 people — were not previously involved in (addiction) services and wanted resources, so we connected them to relevant services,” Holton says.
The Oregon Health Authority has defended the lack of people entering treatment since the law was put in place.
“People enter treatment when they are ready to,” said OHA spokesman Timothy Heider, “The support being built to help people will meet them where they are.”
Property crimes have increase and so has violent crime in the state, says District Attorney Kevin Barnett of Washington County. Portland hit an all-time high of 90 murders in 2021 and police believe it is tied to measure 110 because gangs are involved in more turf wars to sell drugs.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that many of the “experimental” policies pushed by well-educated liberals are nothing but abject failures. Of course, decriminalizing drugs makes it easier for drug users, but it also makes it easier on drug dealers! Hopefully, the results of this experiment can be broadcast nationwide so that we do not see similar laws like this put in place across the country. Do you think that decriminalizing drugs is a bad idea or not? Let us know your thoughts.