In November of 2020, Oregon voters passed Measure 110, an experiment that liberals hoped would stem the drug addictions and overdoses ravaging the state, especially the city of Portland.
Approved by nearly 60 percent of the voters, the measure reduced the punishment for possessing hard drugs, including fentanyl and methamphetamine, to a mere $100 fine. Even this small charge could be waived if offenders agreed to participate in drug screening and treatment.
Portland has long had a reputation for being an artistic, trendy city with a high quality of life. Residents and police hoped the program would rescue the city from homelessness, crime and decay. After the 2020 anti-police riots, the burned-out downtown needed renewal.
After two and a half years, Measure 110 has failed by all metrics. Some people are now calling for tougher laws. Others are doubling down and asking to give the lenient program more time and resources. No one is happy.
An Addict’s Paradise
Just looking around downtown leaves no doubt as to its present status. A lengthy New York Times report on Portland describes not a city but a hell that has descended upon the population and the unfortunate addicts.
While Portland may be a citizen’s hell, it is an addict’s paradise. Since the measure was enacted, the street population has been growing, attracted to the city benefits and lack of police harassment. Open-air drug use is rampant despite the largely disregarded fines issued by police. Circles of people occupy the parks, smoking fentanyl crushed on tin foil. Drug dealing is everywhere, making supply high and prices cheaper.
A Hellish Side
However, there is also a hellish side. Overdose rates have soared as police are instructed to administer Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, to unconscious users found along their beats. Tent cities are everywhere, with needles, trash and human waste all over the sidewalks. Poor addicts with mental health issues drag themselves through despair and sickness.
The already riot-ravaged downtown is reeling from the new problems. Drug rehab programs are full and not working. Many people simply do not want treatment and refuse housing. Measure 110 has become a get-out-of-jail-free card for anyone with drugs.
The experiment is based on the flawed logic that people will always do what is better for them. The addicts are excused, being seen merely as victims of circumstances, with no moral fault for their shortcomings. In any case, government programs and money can resolve all the problems.
This Rousseauian mentality does not recognize a notion of right and wrong. Instead, it holds that people must be free to gratify their unbridled passions. According to the Marxist narrative, anyone who prevents this gratification must be seen as an oppressor. In addition, social structures insisting upon moral norms can also be blamed for the evils that plague society.
The result of such thinking is the catastrophe of Measure 110. In Portland, chaos reigns because no one can stop these people from harming themselves. In fact, officials promote this self-harm to the maximum.
Addicts Need a Moral Conversion
Of course, the addicts are culpable for their present state. They adopted the habits and lifestyle that took them to despair. The culture encourages them to continue these bad habits. Their broken lives deprive them of the safety nets of family, community and church that would come to their aid.
These poor addicts need a moral conversion to help them overcome their vicious addictions and adopt lives of virtue. At this point in their lives, these self-destructive habits are so ingrained that there is no easy way out.
The fundamental premise must be changed to avoid reaching this later stage of decay and turpitude.
However, the liberal voters for Measure 110 also have some culpability in sentencing these addicts to hell. They are cruel accomplices in this truly criminal state of things.
Ensconced in their higher-income enclaves, many liberals imagined they were doing a good deed by allowing them to indulge in their addictions freely.
They blame the government for not providing enough help and still call for more aid. Their radical secularism prevents them from turning to God and His grace to touch these lost souls and give them meaning and purpose.
These same liberals generate a culture of indulgence that destroys society. Their children are often found in the ranks of those suffering from these terrible addictions. They are enablers who have condemned all citizens to live amid this hell of their making.
The failure of Measure 110 proves the futility of liberal wishful thinking. People will only change when convinced of the error of their ways. However, they must first admit that these ways are erroneous.
Making it easier for people to engage in errant behavior will only turn vibrant cities like Portland into uninhabitable hells of criminality and despair.
Photo Credit: © CrackerClips – stock.adobe.com