Oregon Decriminalizes Drugs, Now Leads USA in Drug-Related Deaths

Oregon Decriminalizes Drugs, Now Leads USA in Drug-Related Deaths

Oregon is reaping what it has sown after it decided to decriminalize hard drugs in 2021, as the state now leads the pack in drug-related overdoses and deaths. The state saw a large spike related to opioid deaths due to fentanyl-laced meth.

According to the Times, Republican State Representative Lilly Morgan said that there was a 700 percent increase in overdoses and a 120 percent increase in overdose deaths. “We have overdoses increasing at drastic rates… How long do we wait before we have an impact that we’re saving lives?” she said.

Oregonians voted for Ballot Measure 110 in November of 2020, which decriminalized the personal possession of hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine, meth, and LSD.

The bill garnered 58 percent support, making Oregon the first state in the union to approve the decriminalization of drugs. Being caught with drugs became a Class E misdemeanor, meaning that those who are found to have drugs could be ticketed $100.

Drug possession fees, though, could be waived if they call a hotline to receive a health assessment.1,885 people have received citations and 91 called the hotline since the law went into effect.

The Associated Press’s addiction researcher Keith Humphreys said that “the Oregon ballot initiative was presented to the public as pre-treatment but it has been a complete failure in that regard.”


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