Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Oregon to recriminalize drugs

By b0oua Apr 4, 2024

(Los Angeles) Beginning in September, Oregon will once again make it illegal to possess small quantities of narcotics, three years after it became the first state in the United States to decriminalize all drugs.

This backpedaling was authorized by a statute that was promulgated on Monday by Tina Kotek, the Democratic governor of this western state in the United States.

On September 1st, the possession of hard drugs (including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and other similar substances) will once again be regarded a criminal offense, which can result in a prison sentence of up to six months.

As a result, the document puts an end to the decriminalization that was voted for by referendum and implemented beginning in the year 2021: users who were in possession of small quantities of drugs were subject to a simple fine of one hundred dollars, while the sale and manufacturing of drugs continued to be subject to prosecution.

This change was a pioneer in the United States, and it generated a great deal of controversy. With the help of Portugal, where decriminalization has been successful for more than twenty years, the concept was to treat drug users as sick individuals rather than as criminals. This was done in order to take inspiration from Portugal.

However, enforcement has coincided with the health crisis that has been caused by fentanyl across the United States: death overdoses have more than tripled in Oregon between the years 2019 and 2022, primarily due to this lethal opioid, which is up to fifty times more strong than heroin.

The state of Oregon has also been unusually slow to establish the health services that are required to accommodate users, which has resulted in drug use being particularly conspicuous on the streets.

Detractors of decriminalization declared that it was a failure, while many health professionals emphasized that the health side of the bill did not really have any influence. This resulted in a turnaround in public opinion in this state, which had been won over by the American left party. might be put into action.

The Drug Policy Alliance, which is one of the primary organizations that advocated for the decriminalization of marijuana, issued a press release on Tuesday in which it condemned what it called a “harmful step backwards.”

“This is a false promise of change that will put people through the criminal legal system, without there being a meaningful link to treatment,” said Kassandra Frederique, the president of the organization.

According to her recollection, decriminalization has resulted in fewer incarcerations and less barriers to the reintegration of drug users.

According to the new law in Oregon, law enforcement must continue to give priority to alternatives to criminal prosecution wherever it is feasible to do so. The partnership between law enforcement and health services is another area that will be strengthened by this initiative.

“A set of measures that promote treatment first, while balancing the need for accountability,” Governor Tina Kotek stressed in a letter announcing the approval of the law, the text covers “a set of measures that promote treatment first.”

The majority of drug possession charges in Oregon have been downgraded from being a felony violation to being a non-felony offense. This reduces the severity of the penalties. A ticket to rehabilitation will be issued to the defendant in exchange for the $100 that they pay. There is a possibility that such a fundamental shift from a response based on criminal justice to one based on health care could be successful. In the event that this is the case, those who campaign for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana will be able to look back and proudly claim, “I informed you so.” Skeptics have the ability to say, “Too bad, I wish it had turned out the way you had hoped it would.” in the event that it does not work.

Critics argue that the war on drugs has been unsuccessful ever since President Richard Nixon used the term “war” to refer to the efforts that were made to enforce drug laws in 1971. Taking into account the fact that one in eleven people living in Oregon are addicted to drugs, the proposal put forth by the state predicts that those who are hooked on illegal drugs will seek rehabilitation and discover a solution to their substance usage. It is possible that if it is successful, it will serve as a model for other states and even other countries. There will be a lot of obstacles to overcome for the law and its operation.

It is either the public consensus or the political strength of interest groups that determines the laws that are actually passed. When significant problems are brought before the political process, the resolution is frequently regarded as the definitive remedy. The public and politicians move on to the next pressing topic that has been brought up.

The continued support of the general population is essential to the successful implementation of this comprehensive decriminalization initiative. For all intents and purposes, it is a massive experiment with an undetermined end. Over the next few years, it will be required to make modifications to the programming, the finances, and the attitude of the general public. The long-term successes and failures that occur will be determined differently depending on whether or not it occurs.

A dependable source is required in order to provide funding for treatment for substance misuse. In point of fact, the $100 assessment is entirely voluntary, and it would not in any way contribute to the funding of the programming. It is ironic, or perhaps it is appropriate, that the program would be funded by the tax revenue that is collected from sellers of marijuana. Even while it has been anticipated that income will increase, there is no assurance that the marijuana market will continue to go in an upward direction.

In the event that drug use in general were to decrease, it would appear that marijuana sales would also decrease. In spite of this, we use the money from the tax on cigarettes to fund health efforts, such as programs to help people quit smoking, so perhaps this will work out.

Additionally, proponents argue that the money saved on the expenditures of incarceration can be transferred to drug treatment. The connection between illegal substances and criminal activity is a convoluted one. In light of the fact that the majority of drug possession cases are the result of previous arrests, the absence of a drug charge does not necessarily mean that there is no jailable conduct. This does not necessarily mean that there will be a drop in overall crime as a result of the influence on treatment availability and diversion.

There are a considerable number of convicts who are now serving time for drug-related offenses; nevertheless, the majority of them are there for the purpose of selling or manufacturing drugs, which is still against the law in Oregon. Additionally, it is common knowledge among those working in law enforcement and corrections that an offender is incarcerated due to a history of criminal acts, as well as second chances and plea deals. When it comes to drug offenders, the statement that they would no longer be sent to prison is not always accurate.

Within the framework of the criminal justice system, numerous drug reforms have already been implemented. Entry into the criminal justice system through arrest has been the path to recovery from substance misuse in a number of different ways. Some of these ways include decriminalization, treatment that is mandated by the court, programs that are based in penal institutions, and supervision through probation and parole. It is true that recovery in correctional facilities has a history that is not entirely trustworthy; nonetheless, the premise that addicts undergo treatment on their own volition is not one that will always be accurate.

When it comes to the medical and psychiatric realm, an addict may be deprived of the safeguards afforded to a convicted criminal, such as the ability to file lawsuits and appeals. When hundreds of criminals are turned over to the mental health system, there are a number of ethical and procedural problems that arise. It is not health care providers that are protected by the Constitution; people are protected against government actors.

By b0oua

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