USA: Decriminalization – Alert! ‘Savings’ Vs Hidden Costs Not Yet Calculated?

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Mixed results for Oregon’s pioneering drug decriminalization

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 to decriminalize hard drugs after being told it was a way to establish and fund addiction recovery centers that would offer people aid instead of incarceration.

Yet in the first year after the new approach took effect in February 2021, only 1% of people who received citations for possessing controlled substances asked for help via a new hotline.

With Oregon being the first state in America to decriminalize possession of personal-use amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other drugs, its program is being watched as a potential model for other states.

Some are questioning whether the approach is proving too lenient, but others say the new system has already had a positive impact by redirecting millions of dollars into facilities to help those with drug dependency issues. The funds come from taxes generated by Oregon’s legal marijuana industry and savings from reductions in arrests, jail time and probation supervision.

Under Ballot Measure 110, possession of controlled substances is now a newly created Class E “violation,” instead of a felony or misdemeanor. It carries a maximum $100 fine, which can be waived if the person calls a hotline for a health assessment. The call can lead to addiction counseling and other services.

But out of roughly 2,000 citations issued by police in the year after decriminalization took effect, only 92 of the people who received them called the hotline by mid-February. And only 19 requested resources for services, said William Nunemann of Lines for Life, which runs the hotline.

Almost half of those who got citations failed to show up in court.

Mixed results for Oregon’s pioneering drug decriminalization

Commentary: It’s vital to note that perceived permission models, a lack of an already ‘toothless’ enforcement, and the ever increasing ‘normalization’ of drug use this experiment all brings, will have more serious health, community and fiscal harms coalesce around this mess not only now but mounting into the future.

No only do these ‘permission models’ invite more unwitting or wilfully ignorant customers into the pool of the self harming, it’s  the inevitable dependency these psychotropic toxins invariably create that ensures ever increasing chronic health harms – way into the future. The next generation will be paying not only a financial price, but an overall community diminishing price that actually smacks of a complete disregard for the hapless drug user and those closest to them.

What is as concerning is that this is now the ‘default’ mode for so called best-practice.

‘Progress’ has never looked so dystopian. However, the social engineers steering this train-wreck are largely the ones who don’t have this chaos in their home or community.

Other resources

What Lessons Can We Learn from Portugal?

Portugal Drug Policy: A Review of the Evidence

Team @ Dont Legalize Drugs