In pro(re)gressive land, everyone is a victim and not responsible for their actions, so there should be no crimes. One nuts idea is to de-criminalize all drug use. Now I actually think putting drug users in jail probably isn’t going to do much to help them. But the users are also often dealers and decriminalizing drug use has always been accompanied by ignoring drug trafficking, which provides huge profits to gangs and leads to corruption and other criminal activity. Oregon, really the Portland area, has the worst drug addiction problem in the country, in part because the state has decriminalized any drug use, leading to massive numbers of homeless who openly use drugs of all types, leading to the ruination of the city of Portland and its suburbs.
The state has a program to try to treat and help drug users instead of jailing them. As this newspaper article points out, that program has been an abject failure. (Oregon Article) It hasn’t done a thing to stop drug use and overdose deaths are up by over 20%. The state wants to spend even more money on this failed program, as though funding is the problem. I am sorry to have to say that human nature is not such that people voluntarily stop using drugs. I worked in drug treatment centers as a young adult and it was eye-opening. You have to force people into confinement to have any chance at interrupting the addictive behavior and it takes forever. So whether you want to call it a crime or not, there has to be an ability to forcibly put users of addictive drugs whose lives are out of control into treatment.
Meanwhile, the money is flowing to drug cartels and gangs and states like Oregon have so eviscerated their police forces that they are powerless to stop this criminal activity. And those drug cartels and gangs don’t want addicts to get treatment; like anyone they want to keep their customers. You would think that people look at these looney-tune policies and vote the knuckleheads who enact them out of office. Nope. So we have almost all our major cities going completely down the tubes.
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States used to treat addicts involuntarily. But they were usually piled into mental health hospitals (loony bins). Hard to say that really worked but two things happened to make that approach poisonous to the American psyche.
First was anti-psychotic meds that actually helped. Helped just enough to release people from the hospitals, but made these people dependent on these medications. And follow up on these patients is difficult.
Second was the slow takeover of mental health by the federal government. This enabled the states to wind down their mental hospitals and put all the expense on the feds (during the high inflation of the 1970’s/early 80’s).
(The ACLU involvement in this is an entire topic of its own. )
Now we’re left with mostly a one-size-fits-all approach to what is largely a medical issue and as we saw over the last two years is basically disastrous non-science. Part of me wants to encourage states to come up with their own ideas -like Oregon- to see what works and what doesn’t.
But when you see California and Washington basically adopting the Oregon experiment that doesn’t work, one has to realize that we have only wound up with nothing more than two one-size-fits-all approaches which actually makes things worse by enabling more political competition which clearly exacerbates the problems.
Humans seem to go through these worldwide phases of arrogance and pride where admitting failure and mistakes is impossible. It is sad that we cling to these clearly failing policies even longer than Prohibition. It is plain to see that a top-down approach is not going to work but any individual or small group trying something else that shows promise is vilified as undermining authorities rather than worthy of consideration as one of a set of possible solutions.