Oregon — On Tuesday, Oregon officially became the first state to decriminalize heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and other hard drugs.
According to Oregon officials, The “Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act” will transition Oregon’s drug policy from a punitive, criminal approach to “a humane, cost-effective, health approach.”
The bill reads in part, “People suffering from addiction are more effectively treated with health care services than with criminal punishments. A health care approach includes a health assessment to figure out the needs of people who are suffering from addiction, and it includes connecting them to the services they need.”
Unlike most states, especially Florida, instead of treating drug users as criminals, Oregon will now offer drug users addiction services funded by the marijuana tax revenue. The marijuana tax revenue brings in more than $100 million a year in taxes.
Oregan officials said they mimicked similar laws in multiple countries in Europe, including Portugal, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, that have decriminalized the aforementioned types of drugs without any negative effects on the areas.
In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs.
“Decriminalizing drugs did not lead to an increase in drug use but did result in a dramatic reduction of pathologies associated with drug use, such as sexually transmitted diseases and overdose deaths,” Portugal health officials said.
Additionally, a 2015 European Drug Report conclusively showed that Portugal’s drug overdose death rate is now five times lower than the European Union average. Furthermore, the crime rate significantly decreased across the board.
Moreover, in other countries, drug dealers are not arrested and charged with murder if a drug addict overdoses.
Portugal officials, said, “Using drugs is a choice. Blaming someone who sells drugs for someone’s death is like blaming McDonald’s because you got fat.”
In the U.S, law enforcement continues to wage a failing war on drugs, European officials said during a press conference. “U.S law enforcement treat drug users like animals and lock them all in cages.”
The Oregon bill states that only small amounts of drugs are decriminalized, such as less than 1 gram of heroin or MDMA; 2 grams of cocaine or methamphetamine; 12 grams of psilocybin mushrooms; and 40 doses of LSD, oxycodone, or methadone.
The bill reads, “Criminal arrests for possession of these amounts will be replaced with a fine of up to $100. The fine can be waived if the user is evaluated at Addiction Recovery Centers.”
Manufacturing, selling, and driving while under the influence of these drugs will still be considered a criminal offense.
Florida has one of the highest incarceration rates in the U.S. Marion County, Florida has the highest incarceration rate in the state.