Letter to the Editor |
Will Illinois lawmakers heed Oregon's failed experiment

Dear Editor,

In 2020, Oregon voters decriminalized possession of small amounts of almost every hard drug. Progressives campaigned in support of this ballot measure, insisting that their state should help treat addiction rather than punish it. The measure passed with 58 percent support.

Now, Oregon's governor has declared a drug emergency, as overdose deaths have been climbing year after year and Democratic lawmakers who first pushed to decriminalize drugs are admitting it isn't working.

Even The New York Times acknowledges that it is out of control, saying in a recent article, “Portland used to be known as one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. But in recent years, the city has been struggling with widespread fentanyl use on its streets, which has led to an increase in homeless encampments and crime.”

Writing in Newsweek, former Presidential drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet says that even while the declaration of a "state of emergency is a step in the right direction, more must be done to undo the harm..."

Will Illinois lawmakers, including self-styled "libertarians," heed this experiment gone awry? Public policies have consequences. Decriminalization leads to more overdose deaths, more crime and more public drug use.

David E. Smith, Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute

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