Legislation

As Legislature backs lower fentanyl sentencing, overdoses up 41% in decriminalized Oregon

By Guy Page

Overdose deaths jumped 41% the year after Oregon decriminalized possession of hard drugs, according to SOS, an organization fighting drug legalization

Also, just 10% of the taxpayer money “saved” from less policing has gone to drug treatment services, SOS said. Meanwhile Oregon murders, many of them drug-related, are at an all-time high. 

The results of Oregon hard drug decrim matter because the Vermont Legislature is moving quickly towards decriminalization. 

The Vermont legislature this year approved H505, preventing ond reducing the criminalization of personol drug use, which would have steeply reduced sentences for possession of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and other “hard drugs.” The bill was vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott. 

In its written testimony opposing H505, the Department of Public Safety expressed its concem that Vermont remains a “destination for drug trafficking” due in part to demand, and in part because of the view by drug traffickers that “the financial incentives outweigh the risks posed by Vermont’s criminal laws.”

Oregon’s decriminalization of hard drugs in November 2020 launched the beginning of a experimental approach that has become a drug decriminalization disaster for the state in less than 18 months, said SOS. 

Oregon’s Ballot Measure 110 was greatly touted and funded by pro-drug groups, with the goal to reduce Oregon drug possession arrests by 90% by decriminalizing Schedule I-IV drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine. Monies from the state’s marijuana taxes as well as savings from the reduction in arrests were to be used in part to fund services for treatment, recovery, and harm reduction. The program also allowed for citation fines to be waived if the recipient accessed hotline for a health assessment that might include a referral to treatment or other harm reduction services. 

What has been found is that only 10% of the promised $300M has been disbursed to organizations providing services. The picture is dismal with 2021 drug overdose deaths greatest level of 1,069, a 41% increase over the previous year. Only 116 people called the hotline to access the health assessment with 66 only seeking the verification to avoid the fine, 26 previously receiving some form of service, and 24 people who requested some type of help. 

Meanwhile murders are at their highest level ever, connected to gangs and drug turf wars. District Attorney Kevin Barton of Washington County, Oregon said that property and violent crimes have increased, a fact echoed by other rural police departments.

Categories: Legislation

10 replies »

  1. The leftist elements of the Vermont legislature find it fashionable to fall for anything hailed by so-called experts as “harm reduction”. Now we have the guiding example of Oregon and their failed experiment, but the question is: will the leftists in the VT Legislature still be dazzled by it’s fashionability or will they take the advice they like to bestow on us voters and “follow the science”?
    Needle “exchange” programs were marketed to the public as the cat’s meow of good “harm reduction” policy in the interest of public health, to prevent he spread of disease from shared needles. It was argued that junkies could bring in their old needles and “exchange” them for new ones, one for one. Surprise, surprise, these programs turned out to be simply needle GIVEAWAY programs, and make no such demand that you bring in old ones. And their “harm reduction” strategy in the name of “public health” has resulted in many more blood-tainted syringes disposed of improperly in public places where children and pets are at risk of contacting them. That is a “public health” disaster that shifts the risk of HIV and hepatitis infection from the junkies who make the CONSCIOUS CHOICE to engage in the risky behavior onto innocent, unsuspecting bystanders in public spaces. The widespread improper disposal of used needles has not prompted any crackdown or regulation on the “exchange” programs so we should expect that any other of these well-meaning proposals like decriminalization will not be revoked or modified either if they turn out to be a public health disaster. That would be too politically embarrassing for the advocates.

  2. At a Red Ribbon Drug Free kick off event in Vermont, Navy Captain Robert Erbetta, made the comment – our nations enemies do not need to fire a shot to bring our nation down – all they need to do is fan the flames on drug use.

    It’s happening.

  3. I have been on the fence about Decriminalizing hard drugs. It sure isn’t working where it’s tried if these reports are accurate ( I don’t believe much from any media anymore). So what’s the answer? Prohibition has never worked anytime its been tried. Unless we stop the demand, the supply will continue

  4. I think the penalties should be increased not decreased, with an element of compassion for successful completion of drug treatment.

  5. This is utterly asinine. Is it because they can’t figure out how to control drug abuse? So let’s make it legal.

  6. All of the so-called innovations regarding legalizing drug use across Oregon were failures. Try it. You’ll see.

  7. “Harm Reduction” my butt! Who’s “harm” is reduced? Surely NOT the people who have their property STOLEN & fenced for drug money..Not the harm of used needles & BUMS in tent cities scrambling for a daily fix..Not the EMT’s who risk life & limb bringing these junkies back from the brink. Not the cops on the front lines tasked with reporting robberies, fights & shootings over turf, home invasions, stick ups, and on and on..There is NO “harm reduction” in coddling junkies who need to kick cold turkey in a jail cell to snap them out of their “lifestyle” & get CLEAN, all THIS does is put them on a path to OD’s & certain death, albeit slowly. But it sure makes the balloon-head snowflakes FEEL better about a new “alternative”, that’s ALL.

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