Drug Legalization

Oregon Decriminalized All Drugs To Stop Overdoses. Will It Work?

Small-scale drug possession is now a $100 infraction that can be dismissed with a call to a drug abuse assessment hotline.


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In 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize marijuana use, setting in motion a movement that has unraveled much of the disastrous U.S. drug war—with far-reaching consequences.

Today, Oregon is once again at the vanguard of reform: In February, it enacted Measure 110, a law ending prison and jail sentences for all types of drug use and possession, whether it be cocaine, meth, heroin, or psychedelics.

In 2019, before this new law was passed in a statewide referendum, more than 4,000 people were convicted of drug possession in Oregon, and many more cut deals with prosecutors, allowing them to avoid a conviction in exchange for supervised probation and some rehab.

With the new law, not only does possession bring nothing more than a $100 ticket, defendants can get the fine dismissed if they place just one phone call to a drug abuse assessment hotline. So far, only 29 people ticketed for possession have placed that call, according to the nonprofit that runs the hotline.

"That's the downside, the lack of accountability built into the measure," says Mike Marshall, executive director of Oregon Recovers, which lobbies for more funding for addiction treatment and opposed Measure 110.

Marshall has a personal history with alcoholism and meth use and worries that the lack of drug treatment capacity in Oregon, which has the third-largest addiction problem in the nation but ranks 47th in addiction treatment access, will lead to more overdoses and deaths post-decriminalization.

"I'm worried about the person living on the street, in the tent, right outside this window who's smoking meth all day long," says Marshall. "We need to have a system of care to take care of them."

Marshall believes Oregon should've more closely followed the example of Portugal—the first country to decriminalize personal possession of all drugs. It spent two years building a more robust treatment system before decriminalization went into effect. Portugal also required those caught with drugs to appear before a special committee of doctors and addiction specialists.

Oregon's new law does require the state to allocate at least $57 million in its first year to establish a comprehensive substance abuse treatment system that offers immediate rehab. The state legislature awarded $20 million in grants to treatment providers in June and approved spending $302 million over the next two years on substance abuse treatment.

But the introduction of the synthetic opioid fentanyl into the black market has made street drug use deadlier than ever, with an estimated 36,000 nationwide deaths involving the drug in 2019 and increasing by as much as 38 percent with the onset of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Marshall says Oregon should have bolstered its treatment infrastructure before moving forward with decriminalization.

"The notion of criminalizing someone's addiction is terrible, particularly when we know that communities of color are disproportionately arrested for drugs and disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system," says Marshall. "But how you do decriminalization is equally important. And that was the concern about [Measure 110]." 

But Haven Wheelock, who runs a needle exchange in Portland called Outside In, says delaying decriminalization would have been morally unacceptable.

"Anything we do is better than doing nothing, and we know the harms of criminalization are harming people on the regular," says Wheelock. "We know that these interactions between law enforcement and people who are using drugs can be deadly. And so for me, decriminalizing drugs is a priority in and of itself. Those harms are real. Those harms are happening today."

Monta Knudson, executive director of Bridges to Change, which helps drug offenders who've recently been released from jail or prison transition into housing and reintegrate into society, says that the new law will greatly expand treatment access. Bridges to Change is one of several nonprofits that will receive additional money through Measure 110, financed by cannabis taxes, to provide services to drug users before they enter the criminal justice system.

"We want to interrupt that prison [and] jail cycle and offer services instead," says Knudson.

As a former drug user, however, Knudson did find treatment through the criminal justice system. He struggled for years with a meth addiction and was arrested dozens of times. After a two-year prison stint for crimes related to his drug problem, he was released to a rehab program that provided the help he needed.

"Every time I was released from prison or jail, I always wanted to do the next right thing. I just didn't know how to do it," says Knudson.

But at that point, Knudson had spent a total of 10 years behind bars. He sees the criminal justice system as an overly blunt tool for getting drug addicts help and thinks Measure 110 will make it easier for others to avoid wasting so much of their lives behind bars by providing immediate access to treatment as opposed to going on a waitlist, which often happened before.

"The deeper my addiction grew, in those windows of time where I wanted and needed help, help wasn't to be found in a way that was accessible to me," says Janie Gullickson, executive director of a peer support group called the Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon. "[Treatment] finally was accessible in prison, which is backwards in my mind."

Gullickson overcame a meth addiction that began at age 15 and continued until she ended up in prison at age 36. As a chief petitioner for Measure 110, she agrees that there are better ways to get drug addicts treatment than through the criminal justice system.

"I did want treatment. And I had been in [prison] for a year before I was accepted into the [prison drug treatment program]," says Gullickson. "And, God, I wish this program would have been accessible to me before I wasn't able to raise my five kids."

When Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001, the country saw treatment rates increase by 32 percent within the first eight years of enacting the policy.

Portugal's experience also belies the claim of drug warriors that decriminalization leads to more consumption.

In Portugal, drug use rates stayed about the same, and HIV rates decreased significantly since unsafe needle sharing is a source of spread.

But Marshall says he expects Oregon's results to be worse.

"If somebody down on the street on January 30 was using [illegal drugs], a cop saw them and so busted them for having drugs out in the open," says Marshall. "They ended up in jail. They then went to the court. So there was a week's period of time where their drug use was interrupted versus the cop now just walking right by or giving them a ticket and walking on by, and they continue to use drugs…the net effect of [the new law] is that [substance abusers] are using drugs more often in an unsafe environment. And so the overdose rates could go up."

In Portugal, overdose rates fell after decriminalization, before trending back up a few years later. But in Oregon, needle exchange providers are hopeful that the passage of the new law will allow them to experiment with new initiatives to drive down overdose rates significantly.

Clean needle exchanges like Wheelock's program reduce disease transmission. They also prevent fatal overdoses because they distribute naloxone, an opioid-overdose antidote. Further, several studies have shown that needle exchanges help connect drug users with substance abuse treatment programs.

"We regularly have clients come in and be like, 'Haven, I hate using drugs,'" says Wheelock. "And then the next question is, 'Okay, what's next? Like, what are we going to do?'…And just having that nonjudgemental, open, curious community of people ready to answer questions and be really honest and transparent really helps build trust, build therapeutic relationships, build hope for people who are using drugs."

Wheelock also hopes the new law will allow her to expand beyond needle exchanges and into safe consumption spaces, where users can go to have their drugs checked for adulterants like fentanyl and be around workers who can help prevent overdoses.

Vancouver has such a site, and there's also one operating in the United States that doesn't have government approval. A five-year study of that facility published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that with more than 10,000 injections, there were 33 overdoses, none of them fatal or requiring hospitalization.

Safe consumption sites may also help to bring the outdoor drug use and many of the associated problems rampant on the streets and sidewalks of Portland under a roof, says Wheelock.

"No one wants to see someone using [drugs] on their front porch or in the doorway, and those people that are using there also don't want to be seen," says Wheelock. "If they had a place where they could do that in a safer manner, people would."

While Oregon is the first state in the nation to decriminalize all drugs, following Portugal's example as first in the world, neither go so far as to legalize drug sales, leaving a black market and the crime, violence, and danger associated with it fully intact.

Vancouver began trying to mitigate this problem in 2020 by allowing some of its safe consumption sites to dispense clean opioids to drug users so that they no longer have to risk overdosing on street drugs.

There are also recreational drug users who don't have a substance abuse problem. A 2018 meta-analysis of three major national drug use surveys found that 74 percent of those who've used heroin at least once don't ever become dependent, yet under Oregon's system, they can be issued a fine and be compelled to be evaluated for a substance abuse problem.

"There [will] always be folks that are entering the addiction system that might not need treatment and might not want treatment," says Knudson. "And to be honest, if they're not causing community harm, then why should they?…I do think those people are few and far between, and that having a system that provides treatment services is the best way to go because those folks will have access to the care."

And while Oregon's 1973 marijuana decriminalization was decades ahead of its time, proponents believe that if the state succeeds now, the wave of complete drug decriminalization will spread across the entire country much sooner.

"Nothing launches perfectly," says Gullickson. "So what are the lessons other states can learn in five years? I would hope maybe our neighbors…Washington, Colorado…are able to follow suit and do what's right for their communities in their states."

Wheelock says that even if Oregon's decriminalization gets off to a bumpy start, in no small part because the pandemic has exacerbated substance abuse problems nationwide, that Oregon voters have made the right choice.

"I think we're going to see systems improve. I think we're going to see people have access to care that they currently don't have access to. I think we're going to see less people getting saddled with convictions that harm them for the rest of their lives. And to me, all of that is a win," says Wheelock.

Produced by Zach Weissmueller; camera by John Osterhoudt; additional b-roll by Mark McDaniel and Jim Epstein

Photos: David Tesinsky/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Luis Nunes/Sipa USA/Newscom; Tommaso Salvia/Newscom;  Governor Tom Wolf Flickr; Teun Voeten/Sipa USA/Newscom

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  1. It probably won’t have a meaningful impact on OD incidents but it will continue to transition an activity considered a crime into an individual health issue.

    1. This.
      Hard drugs should be legal because people should have the freedom to get wasted. But let’s not delude ourselves that it will reduce crime, or lower the chances of an overdose.
      Ending prohibition didn’t end the mafia or stop people from becoming alcoholics.

      1. True point about the Mafia but they were flexible and adjusted their business.

        Drug cartels on the other hand seem very one dimensional.

        1. The Drug cartels run brothels, organ harvesting, guns to terrorist groups, gambling dens, tourist resorts and breweries.
          There’s no part of the Mexican economy that they don’t have a finger in.

          1. Suppose you’re right. But surely business won’t be nearly as booming.

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      2. It would probably have more effect, at least short term, on petty crime than on organized crime.
        But I think long term it hurts organized crime as well. Drugs are a huge revenue source for them that will be hard to replace.

        1. Agree but I don’t think legalization for user does anything there. If it’s still just as illegal for the supplier, then they have the same risks and will charge the same prices and use the same gangs to enforce their “competition.”

          Only way organized crime gets hurt is if government sanctions business to sell these same drugs.

          1. If anything – legalization for the user could make it more difficult for police to fight organized crime as they typically start their investigations with users at the front level. Obviously if it becomes legal for them then it becomes a privacy/stalking issue.

        2. The drug gangs might be forced to get into politics.

      3. I take a more pragmatic approach. If there was any serious indication that outlawing drugs save addicts I might be persuaded to support it. There doesn’t seem to be. The War On Drugs erodes out civil rights and liberties, cost the flipping Earth, has serious negative fallout, and doesn’t work.

    2. Um, individual health issue?
      “We need to have a system of care to take care of them.”

      1. We have systems in place. If those of us that fund the drug enforcement industrial complex get a savings each year by sunsetting it I imagine some of us would use some of that money to fund non-govt resources for this.

    3. Perfect argument for the expanding of health care. Win-win!

  2. Fingers crossed this works.

    1. It is encouraging to see individual states experimenting with more libertarian approaches to governance. Once in a while our system of government is not dysfunctional.

      1. Let’s see – it is now much easier to be a consumer of product, so demand should go up, at least some. Since the supply side is still illegal, and there is more money to be made, competition in the supply side should increase.
        Competition in supplying illegal drugs often results in gunfire.

        1. Agree. Real question is what are the penalties for people holding a lot of drugs and selling them? If that remains unchanged, then I don’t think crime will be affected too much. There will still be a need for illegal drug suppliers who will jack up prices given their risk and that money will trickle down to gangs, etc.

        2. Only way for crime to truly decrease in that regards is if the state sanctions legit business to sell these drugs, which we all know is never going to happen.

        3. I think everybody wanting to do hard drugs is getting them anyway. Pot was illegal and still is in some places but it doesn’t stop anyone who wants it and never has.

          1. I agree with that statement. Only authoritarian governments can effectively limit supply of a black market. 4th amendment in the US makes it very difficult. Demand stays the same.

            This in between thing doesn’t work and just costs us a ton of money in the long run.

            However, there also shouldn’t be an increasing proportion of society becoming drug addicts. That can’t happen either.

      2. Would be lovely…if they can guarantee that NOBODY would have to pay a penny for the treatment or cleanup of what these idiots do.

        It’s hard to say “let people do what they want” if you ALSO expect others to foot the bill for it.

    2. It won’t. This doesn’t work unless you also hold people accountable for their behavior. Something democrats won’t do. All this will do is enable bad behavior by addicts.

  3. Yes, it will work.

    People shouldn’t go to jail for medical issues, no matter how self-induced they are.

    If it happens to reduce overdoses, great.

    1. Go damnit if every writer here sounds less like a libertarian and more like a democrat trying out libertarian ideas to see if they work for him.

      1. Reason libertarianism is a way of announcing that you’re a contrarian, but that you’re socially left and totally cool with the way that sex and drugs works for the American upper-middle class elite. Personal liberty and free speech can go hang.

        1. upper-middle is considered elite now?

          1. Try convincing them otherwise.

  4. Legalize ALL drugs.
    Thin the herd by weeding out the weak and the stupid.

    1. >> weeding out the weak


      1. as well as so many other things in life.

        Obesity comes to mind as well

      2. COVID weeds out the weak who are also superstitious (e.g. Q-anon adherents and anti-vaxxers). So many now asking for COVID vaccines on their deathbeds.

        1. Cool story bro.

  5. Will It Work?

    Ah, the central question that technocrats, progressives, socialists, and fascist always ask about policies!

    How nice to be a libertarian, who asks “Does it increase liberty?” instead.

    1. It does increase liberty and that does not come through in the article.

      The problem of homeless drug addiction is primarily homelessness not drug addiction and should be addressed separately. It can be argued that since it affects the whole community it can be a libertarian concern.

      Addiction or alcoholism is personal so more difficult to make a libertarian argument there. Many addicted people are actually functional anyway. They just have more health and personal problems.

      1. How do you come by this conclusion? I have a close family member whose drug addiction led to him spending 40k in 2 months, being evicted, and isolated from family, unable to hold a job because he was stealing or too high to function.

        Seems to me that drug addiction typically does lead to homelessness in certain demographics. We can’t all be high functioning coke addicts on Wall Street.

        1. There are certainly plenty of people like your family member, but there are also a lot of much more functional drug addicts. Surely you know, or have encountered some pretty functional alcoholics. It’s not so different. Some people seem to be able to keep their addictions in check more than others. Or can at least be more functional in spite of their addiciton.

      2. It does increase liberty and that does not come through in the article.

        Drug decriminalization may or may not increase liberty, depending on whether it is linked to a regulatory regime that is even more ridiculous than the criminal justice system (as it is in California).

        It can be argued that since it affects the whole community it can be a libertarian concern.

        That is an absurd statement. Making public policy based on how it “affects the whole community” is a collectivist view of the world, about as anti-libertarian as you can be. In a free society, there are many communities resulting from the free association of individuals.

  6. Making it easier to buy hard drugs will make overdoses more likely.

    1. In the same way making booze legal causes more blindness.

      1. The manufacture and sale of drugs remains illegal. They’re merely decriminalizing possession. They did this a couple of years ago in Seattle (as a result of spiking overdoses– due to lax policies in dealing with the homeless) and overdoses spiked the next year- blamed on COVID.

        Either way, there was no reduction in overdoses. So your questionable meth, fentanyl and other tainted opioids still dominate the street market. You just don’t get busted for holding a few grams of black tar heroin in your pocket. That’s the only change.

        1. Which makes it more difficult for police to get leads into the drug market.

          I agree with you – I think crime only decreases if we legalize sale of drugs. Possession doesn’t really change anything and it could actually make these problems worse.

      2. Legitimate brewers, vintners and distillers were ready to resume making the unadulterated products that had been made for centuries. Decriminalizing drug possession won’t replace corrupt manufacturers with honest ones.

      3. In the same way making booze legal causes more blindness.

        Uh… no. Not in the same way making booze legal causes blindness, because hard drugs are inherently more dangerous and more susceptible to overdose.

        Your statement is a mischaracterization and misdirection. This is because even if you do everything right to make your booze, it is still going to be inherently less dangerous than if you did everything right to make your cocaine & heroin snowball.

    2. You say that like it’s a bad thing. I say goo!. Let everyone who wants to take the crap oD and be done with them. Solves many problems. Chalk it up to being Gods way of getting rid of the dumb ones.

      1. Things seem to be going that way. Natural selection is not kind and gentle.

  7. We’ll see. China’s communists have been very busy making fentanyl and pushing it here through cartel intermediaries. I don’t expect overdoses to go down, although at least violent arrests of addicts will hopefully drop.

    1. The Chinese never forgot the Opium wars, and they are trying to get back at the West.

      The difference is that the Chinese at the time full well knew what the British were doing to them, while American voters and politicians like idiots let the Chinese destroy us.

    2. Arrests will go down over time as all the people you would’ve otherwise arrested just overdose and die instead.

      As other posters noted above, decriminalizing just the possession half doesn’t solve the whole problem because all the drugs are still black market and laced with god knows what. Manufacture and distribution also has to be legal if you want to fix that part of the problem.

    3. China led the world in violent prohibitionism before 1837. And lookit how successful that political State has turned out–able to release biological weapons on the world the way the world wanted to do to them in 1910. Republican China… role model to God’s Own Prohibitionists!

    4. Republicans like Reagan who banned LSD are the source of Chinese narcotic profits–and of market crashes and depressions whenever their asset-forfeiture violence hits the fractional-reserve banking system. China could have not banned its weak native poppies. But noooo… mass beheadings by narc squads were a MUCH better idea–until weaponized foreign dope came onstage.

      1. LSD was made illegal in 1968 by the Johnson Administration you dimwit. Go peddle your idiocy elsewhere.

        1. It was made illegal in CA when Reagan was governor.

  8. It’s nice to see long overdue policies (that will truly promote freedom and public health) enacted in Oregon.

    Unfortunately, the left wing politicians in Portland have allowed Antifa, BLM and other thugs destroy much of the city, and increase crime.

    1. National Socialist and Italian fascist politicians send thugs with guns to ban stuff. Libertarian candidates suggest trying freedom instead. International Socialists and communists jump in front of cameras with “tax and regulate” signs to drown out the libertarians. Nazis and fascists must now reduce deadly force or be turned out of office… Libertarian spoiler votes get the job done, just not immediately, nor in a way thugs can readily grasp.

  9. Oregon’s marijuana possession decriminalization was not decades ahead of its time, just a few years ahead of other states’.

    “Treatment” is for “liberals” who think drug “abuse” is an illness, and that some illnesses can be treated by talking about them.

    1. Huh? There are people who abuse drugs, aren’t there? We all know some people who do.

      1. where’s the line?

        1. When damaging yourself becomes damaging to others.
          Calling an ambulance? Welfare? Unemployment? Homeless on the sidewalk? Medicaid?

        2. Like a lot of things in life, the line is fuzzy, but there are also many cases where a person has clearly crossed far over the line.

          In general, when the drug use is controlling you rather than your controlling the drug use.

          1. That never happens. You are always controlling your drug use, unless someone else is injecting you. Someone may not like the outcome of someone’s controls being set in a certain way, but let’s not project your controls onto that person’s. Just because you prefer a certain setting on the machine doesn’t mean the other person wants it that way.

            1. As pretty much anyone who has gotten out of an addiction can tell you, if you go around thinking that drug use is controlling you, you are very unlikely to stop. You have to realize that you have to make the choice and that you can.

            2. Agree. It’s an individual choice to use or stop using drugs/alcohol period. The government, collective or policy has nothing to do with it.

        3. where’s the line?
          On the mirror. Next to the razor blade and rolled up twenty dollar bill.

      2. If drugs are being abused, let the drugs sue the abuser of them.

  10. Provide the addicts with a pure form of the drugs they crave on the condition that there is no Narcan available for ODs.

    Let them use to their heart’s content and the problem will resolve itself.

      1. Amazing that the presumption is so many people have to resort to drugs due to a bad year as that story seems to imply.

        The real story there is the obvious deficiency of mental health and conditioning that leads so many people to using drugs during hard times.

      2. Life is tough. Bad things happen to everyone. If drugs are your first means of dealing with anything, then naturally you’re going to fail.

    1. Seattle Times: “It wuz the covid wot done it.”

    2. Replacements and alternatives like acid, mescaline, DMT, psilocybin and MDMA are still illegal to produce. Laws that use violence to make a crime of trade and production are the problem. This was no secret in 1957 when “Drugs and The Mind” and “Atlas Shrugged” both hit the stands.

  11. Portugal also required those caught with drugs to appear before a special committee of doctors and addiction specialists.

    Oregon’s new law does require the state to allocate at least $57 million in its first year to establish a comprehensive substance abuse treatment system that offers immediate rehab. The state legislature awarded $20 million in grants to treatment providers in June and approved spending $302 million over the next twenty years on substance abuse treatment.

    One of these is not like the other.

  12. Does it matter if it works? If it does great, but the reason to decriminalize should not be based solely on some idealized outcome.

    1. Decriminalization of possession is good for the criminal justice side, but it will likely to little to nothing on the overdose side of the equation. To reduce overdoses, you need sweeping legalization of not only possession and use, but the manufacture and sale of drugs. We’re a long way from the latter, which is a much more complex proposition.

      1. It will be a disaster. We coddle addicts mor and more. Not holding them accountable for their actions. So the rest of us are forced to endure their bullshit, or are punished for not tolerating addict behavior.

        At it’s core, this is just another democrat created blight.

        1. But criminalization doesn’t hold them accountable for their actions either.

          1. More than letting them run wild with little consequence for their drug fueled misdeeds.

            1. They are free to put whatever they want in their bodies. Being an addict is punishment enough for them. Locking them up doesn’t solve anything and is expensive. And violates their rights.
              I don’t think we should be paying for them either. Housing, food, diapers and electricity for the Xbox.

              1. So We’re clear, I give zero fucks what other people, want to put in their bodies. However, I’m sick to death of the government coddling violent, thieving addicts at my expense. I say this as someone who has had to evict two addict tenants from rental homes in the last three years.

                Again, I’m fine with people taking whatever, just don’t put their shit on me in the process.

            2. Punish the “drug fueled misdeeds”.
              Just as alcohol goes.

              1. DUI prosecution is pretty unpleasant. And I’m fine with coming down hard on drunks when they get violent, or destroy other’s property.

        2. All Christian National Socialist dogma relies on prophesies that become forgotten thoughtcrime as soon as reality disproves them. New superstitious dogma then emerges to press for totalitarianism… It’s like some sort of ingrained habit.

      2. Decriminalization of possession is good for the criminal justice side, but it will likely to little to nothing on the overdose side of the equation. To reduce overdoses, you need sweeping legalization of not only possession and use, but the manufacture and sale of drugs.

        Yeah, more of these silly progressive arguments: “we need the right policy to accomplish societal goal X”.

        The argument that legalizing drugs results in better outcomes because it reduces harm is irrelevant and likely wrong.

        The way harm gets reduced in a free society is that people are forced to live with the consequences of their choices.

        If you legalize drugs in a social welfare state, you trample on the liberties of the people who are forced to pay for the bad choices of others, and you likely actually increase harm from drug addiction.

    2. Did anyone in the article ever state what “it works” would mean? Whatever it does, it does. It works.

  13. Overdoses usually happen because you never know what you’re gonna get from the black market.

    I don’t see legalized manufacture and sale of these drugs happening soon.

    Here’s an idea to possibly make some money. A home kit for testing black market drugs. Identify the drug and the potency, then check a chart for the recommended dosage.

    1. I’m imagining your most desperate junkie, having just peed himself, lying in a pile of garbage under an overpass, carefully administering this test…

      1. Contrary to popular belief, must people buying opioids on the black market aren’t homeless junkies. Those people could benefit from a way to know for certain the potency of what they are buying.

        1. What’s keeping you? You can make such a test kit and sell it.

          1. What’s keeping me? The FDA for starters. That and I don’t have a head for business.

            1. Why would a drug test kit need to be FDA approved? It’s a chemical test kit, not a drug.

              1. Just goes to show how much I know about business.

        2. The city morgue isn’t full of high-functioning drug users.

          And further, the whole issue is complicated by ‘purity’ vs ‘potency’ vs ‘resistance’.

          The lower-functioning drug addict often dies, not because the product is ‘impure’ (although that does happen), but often because his resistance was lowered due to a life circumstance (arrest, spent time in jail, went through partial detox) then hits the streets and uses the same dose he used before he went in the klink… which kills him.

          So a chart for ‘potency’ would mean nothing to him on the chart. What would kill you or I (on the chart) simply makes him high. But three months in jail, the same potency on the chart now kills him.

          None of this is as easy as it seems.

        3. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t homeless. They’re often deadbeats squatting in some poor landlord’s house who is left legally helpless against them by prog scum.

          I really don’t care about drugs, but I’m at a point where I’m just as good with the average tweaker getting a bullet in the head as opposed to rehab.

          Addicts and their prog enablers can all burn in hell.

    2. “A home kit for testing black market drugs.”

      I’m too lazy to look anything up, but I’m pretty sure that is an actual thing that exists already. Of course, anyone selling such equipment would not advertising it as being for illegal substances; they would use euphemisms to make the product sound more legit.

        1. Hope they work better than police field tests.

    3. Observe that Oregon is a lot like Reason. They get something right and are promptly besieged by moronic naysayers for Trump, Bush, Bush, Anslinger, Hoover and Hoover.

      1. You really do need to fuck off. You’re a bitter atheist, a bigot, and obsessed with murdering babies.

    4. True. Opiates are a hazard frightening to anesthetists and elderly politicians alike. But banning alternatives only serves to entrench and subsidize the sort of gangland that bombarded China in 1840 and enriches criminal criminal lawyers today. Let alternatives be produced and nobody but mental patients bothers with opiates. This was observable before Reagan banned LSD.

  14. I thought preventing overdose was fairly simple. Find a way to see to it that users had easy, legal access to pure, unadulterated gear.

    1. Gear?

      Are you European or something?

      Never heard dope called gear here in the States.

      1. Most of my junkie friends are/were British.

    2. Purity isn’t the only problem. Pure heroin, at a dose that a serious street addict is used to would kill me.

      1. That‘s a good reason not to do it. Along with a million others.

  15. It would be much safer to just legalize everything. If someone sells you a bad product and you are harmed or killed, they would then be on the hook for legal liability and potential class action lawsuits. Amazing how drive-by shootings between alcohol gangs ended suddenly when Prohibition ended. Now all you get are competing beer and liquor ads.

    1. It’s like people don’t understand the funding source for organized crime is all these illegal activities. Take the rug out from under them.

      1. If you pass laws making drugs illegal then people will stop buying them, and organized crime will go out of business! Intentions are magic!

        1. I don’t buy their intentions are good. I’m sick of hearing how the left has “good intentions”, meaning the other side doesn’t.

          They are not good intentioned people. They are immoral and corrupt and vengeful. Their is nothing good intentioned about anything they do.

          1. You’ve heard the expression ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ right?

            Communists have good intentions. Socialists have good intentions. The only problem is that not everyone wants to go along. So for their own good the people with good intentions use violence to impose their will on the people they believe they are helping. The result is hell.

            1. No, communists do not have good intentions. Socialists do not have good intentions. They are evil, immoral people.

              1. What if they really think their ideas would make life better?

                What you’re saying is that akrasia exists, i.e. that there are people who understand the right course of action, but go against it. I think there are a few people who say and maybe even think they’re like that, but they’re wrong.

              2. Or maybe you’re saying those people are sadists, i.e. that they want to make life worse for other people.

                1. there is nothing good intentioned about slavery.

                  They think they are holier than thou and everyone else is evil who is bad inteioned and doesn’t care yadda yadda yadda.

                  Fuck them. I’m not going to grant they are good intentioned anymore than I would grant the Nazis or the Reds were good intentioned. They are evil scrum and should not be granted one iota of generosity.

                2. They want power over others, and have no intention living the way they would force others to live.

              3. I think that most of them do have good intentions. But their good intentions invariably lead, if they have any success, to having the worst sort of psychopaths taking control.
                And I’m not sure having good intentions and being evil and immoral are incompatible. Most commies aren’t saying “how can I hurt people and cause misery”, they actually believe they can make things better (by their standard of goodness, which may not align with yours or mine).

              4. And they believe you are evil and immoral with bad intentions because you don’t want everyone to have free food, free clothing, free shelter, free education, free health care, etc.

                “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

                ― C.S. Lewis

                1. I’ve read that before. That passage isn’t quoted nearly often enough. So thank you for posting it.

            2. Communists have good intentions. Socialists have good intentions.

              Apparently, many libertarians “have good intentions” too. Viz this article.

              1. That’s the irony. Libertarians generally don’t have good intentions. At least not in the sense of being altruistic and helping others.
                Though in Libertopia people would have economic liberty and be able to help themselves without constantly asking permission and obeying commands.

                1. Altruism is, by definition, a voluntary choice, and only private individuals can act altruistically, by making voluntary personal sacrifices.

                  Libertopia maximizes the potential for altruism and likely maximizes altruism.

                  The progressive social welfare state and the socialist state almost completely eliminate altruism from society.

              2. Oh look… A National Socialist who imagines “good” and “altruist” are synonyms!

          2. Communists, socialists, national socialists, communist anarchists, republicans and democrats all have altruistic intentions. What does that tell you about altruism as a standard of ethical value?

      2. And develop drugs that are safer for people to get fucked up.

          1. You beat me to it.

        1. we already have that from your local doctor

    2. Besides legalizing, you also have to make sure not to tax a substance’s sales or regulate its production to the degree that you end up with a black market, anyway.

      1. You democrats always do that.

      2. Besides legalizing, you also have to make sure that health insurance and government doesn’t socialize the very real costs of drug use.

        1. Or protect addicts from the consequences of their scumbag addict behavior.

  16. Doesn’t matter if it “works”, it’s none of the state’s business.

    No, you shouldn’t be doing hardcore drugs and you should get help if you are, but we shouldn’t jail people for it.

    Having said that, you also shouldn’t be subsidized for your poor decision making. If it’s none of my business if you are doing drugs, then don’t make it by problem by asking for a bailout

  17. The left: ACAB Defund Defund Defund

    Also the left: Ban vaping products, increase cig taxes, enforce against loosies, etc

    — Who do they think is doing all of their enforcement of regulations? At the same time they bitch about overcriminalization etc they push for more of it.

    1. Sometimes I think they believe laws are magic and just enforce themselves. Why else would they react with surprise and confusion when cops use violence against people who commit petty crimes?

      1. they literally learned nothing after any of these police abuse videos because they think it’s just cops being racist etc, not cops enforcing the laws they passed

        1. Of course they have to blame racism.

          The alternative is to accept that every law, no matter how petty, is enforced by violence, and that violence can quickly escalate into deadly force. Every. Single. Law. That is too much for a lot of people to handle. So they blame racism instead. There are some who fully understand and like it this way, but they’re not the majority. The majority is just clueless.

          1. Jordan Peterson: You’re going to send people to Jail for compelled speech

            The left: No, it’s not jail! C’mon, it’s just a *fine*

            Peterson: “What if I don’t pay the fine?”


            Fucking idiots, all of them

            1. What happens if I resist in kind when armed strangers come to kidnap me and put me in a cage?

              Every law, no matter how innocuous, is ultimately enforced with hot lead.

              1. Every, single, one.

                They are not good inteioned, they are evil. Don’t complain about the system you created because it is flawed and leads to abuse. Predictable outcomes are not unintended

      2. Yes, it’s the left who is behind cops harassing people for petty crimes. Very good. Such logic.

        1. You pass laws. You want them enforced. Who the hell do you think DOES it?

        2. Yes, like when Eric Garner was needlessly choked off because of democrat laws in a democrat city, in a democrat state run by democrats.

    2. Defund the police but lock people in jail for not wearing a piece of cloth on their mouth!

    3. How else can they save people from doing bad things to themselves?

      1. Mask mandates and passports!

    4. Yep. When some teen got beat up for not wearing a mask, the city was horrified! “We didn’t mean enforce the rule like that!”

      How the fuck do you think rules get enforced, lady? At the end of a gun. If you don’t think it’s worth killing somebody for, DON’T CREATE THE STUPID RULE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    5. Don’t worry, a social worker is totally equipped to deal with a violent homeless crackhead.

  18. Implant a device in all the homeless drug addicts that monitors their heart rates then have patroling drones that can shoot narcan laced darts. Something like that.

    1. Wile E. Coyote’s got nothin’ on you.

      1. All the drones would just turn on and shoot up Wile instead.

  19. O/T – Pussy journalist writes about firing an AR-15.

    “It is difficult to describe the impact — physical and personal — of that first shot. It felt like a meteor had struck the earth in front of me. A deep shock wave coursed through my body, the recoil rippling through my arms and right shoulder with astounding power. Being that close to an explosion of such magnitude — controlled and focused as it was — rattled me.”

    1. “Does that make you horny, baby?”

    2. That’s an old one, but classic.

      What would that guy think if he fired a 30-06 rifle or magnum revolver?

      1. This is 2 days old. Different article that the one you’re thinking about (it recoiled like a bazooka!).

        1. Funny. I couldn’t follow the link. It’s so similar to that other one.

      2. Give him a 12ga, it’ll send him to therapy.

    3. A .223? Is the guy 100 pounds?

  20. I consider this a positive step, but I am concerned that, by coupling this with Oregon’s ongoing nonenforcement of other minor offenses and petty crimes, it’s going to cause huge social harm and likely an overcorrection in the opposite direction in five-ten years time.

    1. Like they have a knob to control brightness but none for contrast.

  21. I would doubt it. It is doubtful that people who use drugs are particularly caring about their own health or existence. The expectation that decriminalization will lead to more responsible drug use rests on flawed premises.

    1. There are plenty of things that are legal that I don’t do. This won’t impact me at all.

      But do thing that druggies will start being responsible because they are legal now is a bridge too far. It may put them at less risk though when they need to get their fix, so there’s that.

      Then again, I know pot drug use went down in kids in certain countries after legalization, because it wasn’t cool anymore

      1. And it was moms thing anyway so uncool. In Denmark I saw that men hardly used it preferring booze because they thought of it as a women’s thing.

      2. Funny story. My mom is 85 she is very straightlaced and orthodox. But she told me the other day that she knew of a guy in her community who was starting up a business selling certified kosher marijuana.

        Good idea actually.

  22. Fine. Decriminalize the “addiction”. That’s not necessarily the issue. The issue is the criminal behavior that results from drug use and addiction – burglary, theft, assault, murder, public intoxication and related behaviors, the deterioration of public spaces….

    1. Enforce the laws against burglary, theft, assault, and murder.

      I don’t think public intoxication should be a crime. If someone’s messed up being a moron charge them with harassment or something if it’s warranted. Being messed up in public shouldn’t be illegal if the person isn’t bothering anyone.

      1. I support decriminalization.

        The problem is they’re decriminalizing theft at the same time.

        It’s a nightmare.

        See: San Francisco, Seattle.

    2. Curiously, the law has always been rather liberal when it comes to old white dudes drunkenly groping women in their office or country club.

      1. Or in government buildings, as our “President” did.

      2. Like your master, Cuomo, or his master, Biden.

  23. Narcan has a short half life. Usually significantly shorter than most opioids. Giving Narcan in an unsupervised setting can result still result in OD death, as Narcan clears the system before the depressive opioids do. This results in the user re-experiencing the OD systems once Narcan has cleared their system. I’ve seen this in ER and hospital settings, where we had to administer subsequent doses of Narcan to OD victims. They were also closely monitored, on high flow oxygen and IVs to help clear the opoid quicker. Narcan is a life saver but OD victims should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible to receive adequate care and monitoring.

  24. Narcan nasal spray half life is 2.4 hours opioids are 4-8 hours. IV Narcan half life is even shorter than the nasal spray.

  25. I think all drugs should be legal and it would be cheaper to bury them than trying to make sure they are safe or spending millions to get people that don’t want treatment into treatment. Put money only into helping people that seek help.

  26. Zack is showing us a live demonstration of the law-changing clout slung by libertarian spoiler votes. Gary Johnson’s vote share curve gaining 80% per annum caused looters to run first to mathematicians, then to platform committees. Taxing to send murderers out to shoot us for what totalitarians consider “good” is a vote-repelling liability with a local LP able to run candidates on an unspoiled platform. Nixon understood this, hence tax subsidies to looter parties.

  27. In 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize marijuana use
    Oregon, which has the third-largest addiction problem in the nation

    That rather blows the theory that legalization would be-rid the nation of drug abuse problems.

    That being said; I say let OR do what OR wants. And my state will remain a drug-criminalized zone until enough of us can agree on treating psychedelic drugs like alcohol abuse and criminalize the “abuse” instead of the product itself.

    1. I’m for making it legal to take narcotics as long as they make it very difficult to commit crimes as an addict.

    2. That rather blows the theory that legalization would be-rid the nation of drug abuse problems.

      I’m not sure I have ever heard anyone make such a claim.

  28. Actually; even if the State won’t criminalize drugs I’m thinking City, County and Communities still can – which in my book the closer to representation one can logically get; the better representation one gets.

  29. Decriminalizing under the rubric of preventing overdoses is nonsense. If I’m an alcoholic, putting a liquor store on every corner and decriminalizing DUIs is not going to sober me up. If your philosophy is that adult have the right to drink or shoot up until they die, fine. I personally don’t care, I just don’t want to pay for it. But claiming this will somehow help them beat their addiction and be better for them in the long run? Garbage.

  30. This makes no sense. In many cases the reason why people overdose is because they need to take more and more of a drug to continue to feel it’s desired effects.

  31. Utilitarian goals are never the proper justification for anything.

    This should have been done purely on the grounds of increasing individual liberty.

    Because in that sense it would be a guaranteed success.

  32. Working is not an objective of the Progtards. Creating lawlessness if the objective.

    The real point to anyone with a functional brain and an ounce of ethics, is that no one should go to prison for what they put into their own bodies. You can bet the progtards have never entertained such a thought.

    Want to get an abortion? Your own body!

    Want to smoke some plant? Go to prison!

  33. The goal of the left is to destroy Western civilization and culture and replace that with the West version of the CCP.

    So they dangle some little freedoms in front of their sheep. Here sheep, want to do this heroin? No problem!

    And what happens when they achieve their goal of one party rule? The sheep get lined up against walls with their shocked faces on, or they go the camps.

  34. LOL, Oregonians, you are in for worse times. Drug addiction does not discriminate and addicts don’t turn it off, but do perpetuate the problem and increase the number of addicts.

    Your political leadership are incompetent for running a stable values based society.

  35. I’m glad this was tried in a state like Oregon, populated with and run by reasonable, responsible adults. No way this will make things worse.

    1. Most of Oregon is pretty good. It’s the leftist morons in Portland and Eugen that ruin the state. Just like Washington with Seattle.

  36. Oregon could have streamlined the process by offering sleeping bags and spaces in unused sections of cemeteries.

  37. With carfentinal an amount smaller than a grain of salt can kill a person through skin absorption.

    Do you want freaks walking around in public with this shit?

    1. Hell the US invaded Iraq, killing tens of thousands and destroying the cradle of earths civilization over false rumours of WMD.

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  39. The Buffalo Party was a Pacific Northwest precursor to the LP. Observe how the two parties managed to get rid of a bunch of violent laws by letting folks organize and vote.

  40. Drugs will only cost you a lot of money and worse death.

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