Legalizing Drugs Led to Massive Increase in Drug-Related Deaths

Source: "Oregon 1st state to decriminalize possession of drugs," AP News, 1 February 2021.

"Police in Oregon can no longer arrest someone for possession of small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other drugs as a ballot measure that decriminalized them took effect on Monday. Instead, those found in possession would face a $100 fine or a health assessment that could lead to addiction counseling."

Source: Lynne Terry, "Latest data show overdoses continue to skyrocket in Oregon," OPB News, 28 January 2024.

"In 2019, 280 people died of a drug overdose in Oregon. Fatalities rose every year after, more than tripling by 2022, when 956 died. And last year, even more people died, according to preliminary data. Each month the number has been higher than the previous year, reaching 628 in June. The state is still compiling data for 2023, but if the trends continue, the total would reach 1,250 deaths from an overdose."

I find it interesting that this article talks about many possible reasons why drug overdose deaths are skyrocketing but leaves out the change in Oregon law.

Source: "Oregon lawmakers pass bill to recriminalize drug possession," AP News, 2 March 2024.

"A bill recriminalizing the possession of small amounts of drugs was passed by the Oregon Legislature on Friday, undoing a key part of the state’s first-in-the-nation drug decriminalization law as governments struggle to respond to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history."

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