Leftists can tell you all about how to end the War on Drugs.
But in one state they made the mistake of taking their own advice seriously.
And the results are so devastating they’ll never be able to pick up all the pieces.
Portland, Oregon used to be an ultra-clean yuppie paradise.
Now it’s an open-air drug market where police drive by homeless addicts doing their business – in every literal sense of the word.
Back in 2020, 58% of Oregon voters approved The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act.
Like most political promises, the optimistic title and reality of what’s happened are complete opposites.
Much like defunding the police was supposed to make crime go away, decriminalizing drugs was supposed to clean up all the addicts.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 2020 Oregon ranked second highest in the nation for substance abuse with one in five adults addicted.
And if you travel through Oregon, you’ll quickly recognize the truth in those numbers . . .
In the past two years the problem has worsened dramatically.
Decriminalizing drugs in Oregon was supposed to work by driving addicts into treatment rather than jail.
Rather than face felony charges, possessing small amounts of heroin, meth, cocaine, and fentanyl became a “Class E violation” – pay a $100 fine and you’re good to go.
Or the fine could be avoided altogether by calling a help hotline and completing a health assessment.
Manning that hotline quickly became the world’s most boring job.
The CEO of Lines for Life told Fox News only 116 people have ever bothered to call.
Of those, 66 wanted to make sure the assessment was verified so they could get out of the tickets and another 26 already had some sort of help and weren’t interested in anything Lines of Life could do for them.
In two years, only 24 people called and got some helpful information.
“It was never designed to reduce our addiction rates, so it was never designed to deal with our addiction crisis,” Mike Marshall co-founder of Oregon Recovers explained, “It was always meant to deal with the war on drugs.”
Instead, the Beaver State has managed to attract more illicit business – and violent crime – from international drug cartels.
With drugs flowing freely and state licensed marijuana growing operations legal in the state, international cartels from all over the world have moved in.
Residents in rural Oregon regularly hear bullets flying as cartels intimidate anyone getting too close to the illegal pot-growing operations where they produce for the black market across the United States.
“What we’re absolutely seeing is that as drug possession has been decriminalized, property crimes have increased and so has violent crime,” said District Attorney Kevin Barton of Washington County, Oregon.
At this point in the game, it seems like the War on Drugs has been traded for a War on Peace and Prosperity.
Theft is up, murders in Portland hit a record high, and overdose deaths increased by 41% in the first year after the decriminalization bill passed.
Meanwhile, less than 1% of addicts entered a treatment program.
When it was passed, Oregon’s new drug laws were heralded as a “first in the nation” achievement.
Based on the results, it should also become the last.
Stay tuned to Blue State Blues for any updates to this ongoing story.