Oregon Declares a “Fentanyl State of Emergency” After Decriminalizing Hard Drugs

by J Pelkey
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Oregon has just announced a 90-day state of emergency due to its rapidly worsening fentanyl crisis.

This decision follows Oregon’s move four years ago to become one of the first states in the country to largely decriminalize hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

To illustrate the severity of the fentanyl crisis in the state, between 2018 and 2022, Oregon saw a staggering increase of over 500% in fentanyl overdose deaths.

The New York Post reported:

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A state of emergency was declared Tuesday over downtown Portland’s rampant fentanyl problems — just three years after Oregon became the first state to decriminalize drug use.

Gov. Tina Kotek, along with Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, each issued an ordinance to establish an emergency command center for drug overdose response and prevention for at least 90 days.

“Our country and our state have never seen a drug this deadly and addictive, and all are grappling with how to respond,” Governor Kotek said.

“The Chair, the Mayor and I recognize the need to act with urgency and unity across our public health and community safety systems to make a dent in this crisis. We are all in this together.”

The three simultaneous emergency declarations were issued to pool and “refocus existing resources” across the city, county and state jurisdictions, Kotek’s office said.

The center will serve as an immediate care access site, where those addicted to synthetic opioids will be connected with resources from a bed in a drug treatment center to meeting with a behavioral health clinician to help with registering for food stamps.

More from Daily Mail on the growing fentanyl crisis Oregon is now facing:

Oregon became the first state in the country to decriminalize the possession of all drugs including heroin and cocaine in 2020.

But residents have since demanded for politicians to take action on the open-air drug markets that surfaced and fueled a homelessness crisis.

Opioid deaths in Oregon more than tripled from 280, before the de-criminalization of drugs was voted in, to 955 in 2022.

According to the Oregon Healthy Authority, there were 21 non-pharmaceutical fentanyl deaths in Multnomah County in 2019, before decriminalization was passed. The data has not been updated since.

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