• July 17, 2024

The First State To Decriminalize Drug Use Just Had To Declare A State Of Emergency

In an alarming twist of events, the Democrat governor of Oregon, Tina Kotek, has declared a 90-day state of emergency in Portland, making it abundantly clear that the state’s dalliance with drug decriminalization has led to a perilous fentanyl problem of staggering proportions.

Governor Kotek, joined by Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, has sounded the sirens of crisis. Their emergency declaration outlines a purportedly urgent need to establish a system for efficiently tracking and coordinating resources to aid those impacted by fentanyl use within this stringent 90-day timeframe.

Kotek’s declaration details the setup of a command center in the central city, where a congregation of state, county, and city employees will strategize and respond to the fentanyl scourge. This command center, in their narrative, will act as a remedy, refocusing existing resources and publicly reporting data on the supposed impacts of fentanyl in downtown Portland. It aims to identify and address acute needs and service gaps while establishing a system that can miraculously be sustained beyond the 90-day startup period.

The emergency declaration raises eyebrows, particularly in light of Oregon’s dubious distinction as the pioneer in decriminalizing drug use with the passage of Measure 110 in 2020. Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton does not mince words, expressing disillusionment with the law, stating, “We’ve had three years of this law that has not delivered on the promise that voters thought they were getting.”

The fallout from this progressive experiment is palpable, with CBS News reporting a continuous surge in overdoses since the ill-fated year of 2020. Critics argue that this crisis is not an overnight calamity but rather the outcome of a decades-long descent into misguided policies and lax enforcement.

Haven Wheelock, the harm reduction manager of the nonprofit center Outside In, chooses to view the emergency declaration through a hopeful lens, characterizing the situation as a crisis that has been brewing for decades. She expresses optimism that this drastic measure will finally attract the attention, care, funding, and coordination necessary to address this tragic issue. However, this optimism is not shared by those who question the very policies that led to this dire predicament.

Jesse Cornett, policy director for the recovery organization Oregon Recovers, offers a glimpse into the immediate challenges faced by law enforcement. According to Cornett, the lack of resources for police officers dealing with individuals in crisis is so acute that there’s not even a designated place to take those in the throes of a drug-induced emergency. His call for establishing a sobering center underscores the urgency of addressing the immediate fallout of misguided policies. The fallout from Oregon’s experiment with drug decriminalization seems to be playing out on the streets, leaving both officials and citizens grappling with the consequences of progressive policy gone awry.

The Daily Allegiant