In 2020, Oregon voted to decriminalize the possession and use of almost all drugs. Now, addicts do hard drugs in the open, and a treatment hotline has so far cost taxpayers $7,000 per call, according to The Economist, putting the spending at $1.4 million.
The Associated Press reported Oregon was “awash in treatment funds after decriminalizing drugs,” adding the state has allocated $265 million to recovery centers. The funding came from taxes levied on the sale of marijuana. Sadly, the rollout of these funds has been slow, with only $184 million distributed as of May 26.
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Despite this massive funding, The Economist reported that “…help seems hard to come by.” The overdose death rate in Oregon almost doubled since 2019, twice the national average.
The New York Times has reported on the horrid conditions on the streets of Portland, including needles and humans feces littering the streets, drug addicts using drugs at all times of the day, and violent addicts in tents beating other homeless people with baseball bats.
One program that has been particularly costly and unsuccessful is the treatment hotline. Meant to be a resource for addicts to call for help after receiving a citation for using drugs, The Economist found that in its first two years of existence, fewer than 200 people called the hotline, and fewer than 40 callers were interested in treatment. That put its cost to taxpayers at $7,000 per call.
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