Oregon’s Bottle Bill funds drug crisis

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon Foundation,

If you’re wondering how Oregon’s drug users get the money to buy all that fentanyl, Willamette Week has an answer: the Bottle Bill.

According to the article, it takes only 50 cans to get enough bottle deposit money to buy a daily dose of fentanyl. “Canners” root through garbage cans and rollie bins, often tossing the other garbage onto the street. They then head to local retailers to turn in the cans and head straight out the door to their dealers with cash in hand.

No one—except the drug addicts and their dealers—are happy with this arrangement. Homeowners and businesses complain of garbage being dumped in street by canners hunting for their next fix. And retailer who must redeem the cans complain of addicts lining up and milling around their stores, scaring away paying customers.

Funny thing is, the Bottle Bill was designed to clean up the environment. But now, thanks to fentanyl, the easy money is making things worse.

Andrew Lyons wrote to the Oregonian, “As a grocery store worker, I can attest to seeing addicts turn in bottles and cans for cash, which they then use to buy drugs. This law is enabling addicts by providing free money to fuel their addiction … I see fraud everyday, from counterfeit receipts for $14.40, to people using SNAP benefits to buy multiple cases of water solely for the cash refund, to people from Washington and Idaho crossing the state line with their cans and cashing them in.”

KXL’s Lars Larson on his show once featured a photo (below) of an Oregon food stamp couple abusing the process of deposit returns.  They were filmed behind a Safeway parking lot dumping boxes of newly purchased bottled water containers out on the street.  The couple were more than forthright when questioned, saying they buy boxes of bottled water with taxpayer funded food stamps and then immediately dispose of the water.   They return the empty water bottle containers for deposit cash for which they use to purchase drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or lottery tickets.

This is a pitiful waste of human potential, water resources and tax dollars.