Pubdate: Tue, 24 Nov 2020
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Seamus R. Fallon


Naomi Schaefer Riley and John Walters state that Oregon decriminalized
"small amounts of harder drugs, including cocaine, heroin and
methamphetamine" ("Legal Drugs Are Fashionable-and Treacherous for
Children," op-ed, Nov. 19) and that the passage of Measure 110 in
Oregon "lower[s] the risk and cost of doing business for drug
dealers." It's an erroneous claim. Measure 110 says that possession of
less than one gram of heroin, various low amounts of amphetamines and
less than two grams of cocaine is decriminalized. No drug dealer would
carry anything less than three times the amounts in the measure.

The authors say overdoses in the U.S. rose from "17,000 in 1999 to
more than 67,000 in 2018." The "skyrocketing" statistic in the rise of
fatal overdoses is the 31,335 deaths attributed to fentanyl, a
"powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to
100 times more potent." FDA-approved fentanyl isn't what's being put
into substances; illegal fentanyl is and has been implicated in nearly
60% of opioid-related deaths in 2017 compared with a mere 14% in 2010.

Oregon is taking a bold step to curb the illegitimate use of drugs by
instituting the rehabilitation process instead of mass incarceration.
Rehab can and will help those struggling with illicit drug abuse.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, someone actively fighting
and rehabilitating themselves from their substance abuse is considered
disabled. People who are addicted are sick and need help with their
problem instead of being punished for it. Ms. Riley and Mr. Walters
have no cause to rope children into their argument. Oregon's Measure
110 will change the culture around illicit substances and encourage

Seamus R. Fallon

New York