Oregon program cited in drug war report

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon


The nation’s largest subscription newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, provided a special long story feature on the War on Drugs.

Oregon’s pilot program was briefly cited. Here is an excerpt:

“Prof. Humphreys believes that tolerance has helped to feed a growing population of tent encampments often populated by drug users in cities on the West Coast, including Venice Beach, Calif., which some locals jokingly call “Methlehem.” Removing social or legal disapproval of drug use doesn’t seem to boost recovery, he says. In Oregon, drug users receive a $100 fine that they can get waived by agreeing to a 20-minute call with social services to encourage them to enter a treatment program. Fewer than 1% have sought treatment, he says. Even in Portugal, lauded as a decriminalization model, drug users face pressure to enter treatment, and there is strong social disapproval of drugs in the socially conservative, largely Catholic country. But that is not the case in freewheeling American port cities like San Francisco, with its long acceptance of drug use. “The idea of decriminalization arose in the era when drugs were far more forgiving, but that’s no longer the case,” says Mr. Quinones. Many users should be forced to get help, he says, even by putting them in jail—but only if we rethink jails to include treatment pods and 12-step programs. This is being tried in some states hit hard by the drug epidemic, particularly Kentucky.”

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