Oregon, the first US state to decriminalise hard drugs, is set for a U-turn after addicts took over the streets of major cities.
Police chiefs, district attorneys and city officials are leading demands for Oregon to recriminalise heroin and fentanyl, reversing key provisions of the liberal experiment, which was introduced in 2021.
Underpinning the original initiative, known as Measure 110, was the belief that decriminalising hard drugs would make it easier to get addicts into treatment.
Here in Portugal, which hsa done much the same thing, there’s another layer to this.
If you’re a tourist, an outsider, then the police can and will stop you. Search, find drugs, it’s that choice of treatment or jail. Locals are more leninetly treated.
To the extent that the drug market in Lisbon at least used to have a police presence. To keep order etc. But foreigners trying to use it were intercepted rapidly.
The point being that yes, obviously, there will always be addiction. Best perhaps to have it in the open, monitored, under some sort of control. But stamp down hard on any form of drug tourism.
I don’t say this is a perfect solution however much it accords with my own prejudices (“Wanna get high? Go for it! Die, well, your choice”). Rather, to make the point that such things – as are so many things – are systems. And it’s necessary to have all the moving parts of the system before it works as a whole.
If you’ve got near free drugs on every street then those who want free drugs will move there. And that combination of legal, with outreach and food and tent spaces and so on does make drugs near free. The treatment of locals that way seems v sensible to me – but gotta stop hte migration.