Commonwealth Policy Center

Democratic lawmakers in Oregon decriminalized illicit drugs in 2020. But now they’re having second thoughts. That’s because sights of people using heroin and meth are common in public places. And overdose deaths are at an all-time high. Now Republicans in the legislature have introduced a bill that would criminalize open drug use. The problem with initial decriminalization efforts was that lawmakers treated drug use as simply a public health crisis. But they failed to consider it as a moral crisis with personal and public safety implications. When policy makers refuse to consider the public and moral nature of important issue like recreational drug use, real people suffer and all of society will be hurt. And Oregonians are learning this lesson the hard way.