Oregon Drug Experiment Failing?
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Oregon Drug Experiment Failing?
Analysis. Oregon is at the forefront of a radical new way to deal with drugs — one that minimizes punishments for substance abuse. Advocates of this approach hope to help drug-ridden communities by emphasizing treatment programs. But recent reports suggest the experiment is failing.
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You may remember that two years ago drugs — especially marijuana — had a strong day at voting booths in states around the country. But Oregon went further than all of them. In addition approving psychedelic mushrooms, Oregonians made their state the first in the U.S. to decriminalize possession of hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.
The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, which is also known as Measure 110, lifted the threat of jail time for those found with small amounts of the hard drugs. Instead voters decided to make the penalty for drug possession more akin to a parking ticket. Police can write citations up to $100 and those can be expunged if the ticketed individual accepts an invitation to call a toll-free drug abuse screening hotline.
Sadly, the results of this experiment are so far not promising. FOX News reported in June that of 2,576 drug possession tickets police had by then written, 75 percent ended in convictions largely because the offenders ignored them and never showed in court. Only 116 individuals called the hotline and only 24 of them were open to new treatment services.
Meanwhile, FOX suggests drug addiction is on the rise in Oregon and said Portland streets “resemble an open-air drug market” where police simply drive by drug sales and use.
Those concerns were underscored again this month at an Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the state’s capital. Dr. Todd Korthuis, a leader on addiction at Oregon Health & Science University, pointed legislators to data showing Oregon at the top of the pack among U.S. states for both drug abuse and neglect of drug treatment. He also pointed to a nearly 20 percent increase in drug overdose deaths since last year — a number double that of vehicle fatalities.
“Fentanyl and methamphetamine, which is often contaminated with fentanyl, are now the most common illegal drugs that people use in Oregon,” Korthuis said. “This is leading to a health crisis that is worsening before our eyes.”
Unlike other maladies that doctors try to help treat, drugs tend to make people feel good inside — at least for a time. And another witness at the hearing suggested Oregon’s new approach was struggling because it failed to give drug users the push they need to find help.
Keith Humphreys, an expert on addiction at Stanford University who previously advised the Bush and Obama administrations, said, “Addicted people usually do not seek treatment and recovery without external pressure from family, friends, employers, health care providers, or the law. This matters because Oregon has removed all legal pressure to stop drug use and seek treatment.”
Humphreys said that without pressure on drug addicts, continued abuse, addiction, “and attendant harm” are to be expected.
“We need treatment and prevention policies that actually reduce drug use, as well as harm reduction programs that recognize the need to protect communities from the harms of drug use,” Humphreys added.
Perhaps predictably, the defenders of Oregon’s new approach want more time to prove their system works. The state just invested hundreds of millions of dollars in treatment centers. But some critics think the Measure 110 system itself is faulty.
Mike Marshall, director of Oregon Recovers, told FOX News in June, “It was never designed to reduce our addiction rates, so it was never designed to deal with our addiction crisis. It was always meant to deal with the war on drugs.”
That is perhaps a telling observation. The decades-old war on drugs is seen by numerous progressive activists as a failure that has neither quelled drug availability nor use. They also point out that it has disproportionately targeted drug users in minority communities. Rather than continue the law enforcement-led battle against drugs, some groups like the Soros-founded Open Society Foundations argue for drug decriminalization (Oregon’s current approach) and even legal regulated drug markets.
Interestingly, leaders at the libertarian Cato Institute also advocate for a more permissive drug policy than Oregon currently has. “Oregon can improve its policy — and save lives — by legalizing the manufacture, distribution, and sale of drugs, rather than just decriminalizing use,” one of its posts said this month.
If these positions are striking to you, you are not alone. As one whose elementary school class participated in an early version of the police-facilitated DARE program, it is shocking to me how quickly leaders in our country appears to be moving away from resisting drugs altogether.
This is a live issue in Washington, D.C., and state capitals around the country. The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill in April to decriminalize marijuana and more states are considering Oregon’s broader decriminalization policy.
I believe this is a dangerous trend. What is on your heart when it comes to the scourge of drug abuse in our nation? Will you pray for America today?
What do you think of the decriminalization policy? Share your thoughts and prayers below.
Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.’s public policy arena. Photo Credit: Canva.
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Lord God, our Mighty Warrior, our Way Maker, our Light in the Darkness, our God, this is Who You are…the Great I AM…our One True God, and You know and we know that those decriminalizing drugs do not want people living under the control of You, Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit…they want to keep everyone wacked out on drugs so they don’t know or care about what’s really going on in this Your country…a take over by socialists which leads to communism …Lord God, they have people so strung out on drugs…that they can’t even be a functioning part of their communities let alone go to the polls to vote, hold down jobs, stay out of trouble, have Your wisdom on issues that need addressing ….this has been years in the making…but in Jesus’ Name we plead the Blood of Jesus over every addict in America and around the world that You will awaken their hearts and that their blinders will fall off to see that they have been deceived by the enemy who is the father of lies ….and that in Jesus’ Name they will be awakened to the truth of You, our Good, Good Father, who loves them because You created them and long for fellowship with them through salvation in the shed Blood of Christ Jesus the Lord Who came and gave His own life to wash them completely clean if only they believe by faith and ask for forgiveness of sin…they will be forgiven…and confessing with their mouths the Lord Jesus, and believing in their hearts that You God raised Jesus from the dead…Your Word says they shall be saved ( from Rom. 10:9; 13). In Jesus’ Name call them out tonight Lord God and in days ahead, sanctify them by Your truths for Your Word is Truth ( from John 17:17). In Jesus’ Name let them not just be sorry they are doing something wrong even though unjust laws are saying they are doing right.,.but lead each one to true repentance which leads to genuine salvation through brokeness over sin…in Jesus’ Name help every drug addict across this land and other lands to come to You, Jesus, just as they are…and You will do the changing and transforming from the inside out in each of them. In Jesus’ Name let no drug addict be left behind…but help them be ready for Your appearing Jesus. In Jesus’ Name for addicts who are Christians but have gotten sucked into the great deception, bring them to their right minds, that they will remember they have been given the mind of Christ…at their salvations…and in Jesus’ Name don’t let them waste their minds on drugs that are killing them any longer. In Jesus’ Name, Lord God, bring repentance set them free from their captivity and Jesus deliver them in Your Name, Blood, Word, Power and Authority ….in Jesus’ Name, Jesus, be Saviour to the lost addicts across this great land, and for the saved be Overcomer by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony when You deliver them completely and forever from the thing that is controlling them…drugs…instead of Your Holy Spirit. Nothing is too hard for You and nothing is impossible with You…thank You for hearing our cries, Lord God, and for also saving and changing lawmakers hearts across this great land at the federal and state levels, that this too will one day soon be overturned in our nation and the world ….no more legalization of illicit drugs …but help in Jesus for those who are hurting because of drugs and whose lives are being ruined …in Jesus’ Name help each one have a desire to be in control of their own thought patterns again by coming to You Jesus ….bring about radical transformations all across this land in hearts towards You, Father, Son and Spirit and things will change if we love You with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength and love our neighbors as ourselves. We expectantly wait upon You in hope and in faith our faithful Promise Keeper …they say it can’t be done…but YOU SAY IT CAN!!! It’s YOU we believe!! In Jesus’ Name we pray believing Who has triumphed over His and our enemies openly. Amen.
This is simply one more strategy of the enemy. Our dependence is to be in the Lord, HE IS LIFE. But through guile and deceit, the adversary ensnares men and women, girls and boys, he is the perverter of truth.
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray You will open eyes in Oregon. Let the people see the truth and uphold it. I pray You will open hearts in Oregon and set the people free…those who use and abuse drugs as well as those who have legislated this harm. You are God, Creator of all seen, unseen, imagined and unimagined. I am believing for Oregon and all other states who do not. I believe in the Names of All Things Holy: Father, Son and Spirit. Amen
Jeremiah 32:17 “Oh, Lord GOD! You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Luke 18:27 But Jesus said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Drug addicts are coming Into Oregon to use drugs that are illegal in other states. A firefighter talked to several druggies and asked where they came from and they said we are coming from all over the states to hang out in Oregon so we can use the drugs of our choice. Any drug in Oregon is available and legal.
So sad, because of what lawmakers did in the name of “compassion”, overdose deaths are up 20%. Nothing compassionate about making it easier for people to have access to, become addicted to and eventually die from using drugs – drugs that used to be illegal – making them “legal” doesn’t change the fact that they are harmful, nor does decriminalizing them make these drugs any less harmful, any less addictive, any less dangerous, – they still enslave the individuals that use them, taking over their lives and ruining them apart from any life saving intervention such as coming to know Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:6 – “the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.”
and yet those in power are telling us the answer to the destruction of human lives from drugs is to make these life ruining drugs easily available and legal? The irony of doing this in the name of compassion is the reality that these policies show NO regard for human life, nor the quality of a human life – which is so drastically altered by addiction. Treatment centers are good if the person in need will go there. The choice should be – refuse to commit to the rehab center – then the other option is jail. It is one or the other – but there is a penalty for using drugs illegally. (assuming we come to our senses and make what is illegal for a reason, illegal once again. Treatment can be the “punishment” rather than jail, but we don’t change our laws to accomodate criminals’ behaviors – which we have been doing – ie. “shoplifting/theft” no longer a crime? Our laws don’t need to be changed, they need to be enforced, and prosecuted. Our laws don’t need to be changed, the criminals need to change/stop their behaviors! We must require criminals to conform to standards of law and order and safety and public decency, not our laws to conform to the criminals’ behaviors. This has gotten ridiculous and as the climate people would say – it is not sustainable – lack of law equals chaos. Love sets boundaries which protect everyone – this decriminalization of drugs benefits no one – the individuals using nor the larger society. We all lose, as overdoses and crime and drug usage increase. Nothing compassionate about it – it is blatantly criminal in every way! http://www.mtothe5th.wordpress.com
Decriminalization is very dangerous, particularly to younger users in high school. Even though they resist rules, they interpret a lack of laws to mean that those substances aren’t that dangerous. Of course, Soros & the liberal pack endorse drugs because drug addicted people don’t have discipline, typically have trouble staying employed, & don’t mind being supported by taxpayers or by selling drugs to others. In other words, they aren’t productive members of society, & that is the same group promoting depopulation, so they really don’t care if the death toll is up 20%! I guess they’d rather see them dead instead of serving time in prison/jail where they might get free from drugs & even get saved.
I wonder if this isn’t actually motivated, for some, by a desire to decrease the population?
Truly though this is satan, he loves to talk humans into destroying themselves and others.
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C T OSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE
David Wilkersons Teen Challenge was the most effective drug rehab of its day with far fewer relapses. It was consistently mocked since it was.Christ centered. This hasnt changed. However, God will not be mocked forever HE has given the. Way. Matthew 11:28 say Come to ME All you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you peace.
I see the very young laying on the streets of San Francisco with mounds of used syringes and know only the God of the Impossible can open minds and hearts to this demon infested scene.
To God Be The Glory. GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE..
A great tsunami of cleansing even now across our country..AMEN
Legalizing drugs is wrong, period.
Our history books have proven over and over that our humanness- without Jesus- seeks its own pleasure. I pray that Oregon’s “experiment “ will show once again we must have restrictions on our society to protect us from ourselves. Abba please be with these many, many victims and may their lives be lived for You Lord. We stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of this Satanic onslaught to further his kingdom.. by th powerful name of Jesus we pray!! Amen
As an ex heavy drug abuser it angers me to no end that people argue that Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug. Having addiction issues in my family when Marijuana will no longer get you high it’s the next step up! These addicts need to come to the realization of how valuable they are to the Lord and their life has purpose in Jesus!!
I am so glad you are drug free and know Jesus. God bless you as you are a witness to the goodness and saving grace of God.
Lord I pray that You will pour out Your Holy Spirit upon Sue in greater measure and bring opportunities before her where she can tell those in these distressing circumstances that there is a hope, salvation and new life in Jesus
Thank you for your courageous testimony, Sue; God bless!
Dear Father- please show Oregon law makers a better way, that will force drug users into the programs they desperately need, instead of just ignoring their drug problems. May the rescue missions in the city have a more powerful way, by your Spirit to reach out to these lost ones. They have been totally captivated by the enemy. Send many of your people out to reach these lost ones in the Name of Jesus, Amen