It's disingenuous of Seamus R. Fallon ("Oregon Drug Law Change Can
Help Families," Letters, Nov. 24) to insist that two grams of cocaine
is one-third the amount a drug dealer would typically carry. What is
the source for such a statement? Based on my experience as a
high-school teacher, few of the drug users in their teen years are
"drug dealers." They are constant consumers, many on a daily basis, of
stimulants of any kind. Two grams of cocaine is easily quartered for
four classmates to afford a half-gram each, plenty to get amped up,
behind some brewskis, especially for diminutive teen girls. None of
the group is "a dealer" in the sense Mr. Fallon proffers his straw
man; they are end-users for the dealers.
Oregon's abandonment of its youth to the drug subculture, in looming
years of turmoil and despair, will show in time that: "As the twig is
bent, so is the tree is inclined." Can Oregon not see the forest for
J. Charles Sykes
Mr. Fallon's letter highlights one of the unappreciated strengths of
our federal republic when compared with most other countries:
Individual states can run innovative political experiments without
central government interference. When the success or failure of the
experiment is evaluated, other states can follow (or avoid) the
example as they wish. The trial by Oregon should be monitored and
compared with similar results with a placebo (e.g., Washington state).
Hard facts, not soft opinions, should guide the country as we deal
with drug and overdose problems.
Now that Oregon voters have agreed to end nearly all criminal
penalties for drug possession, state officials have just over two
months to set up a new recovery-focused system, a task that is
particularly complicated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Measure 110, which goes into effect Feb. 1, allows a maximum fine of
$100 for possession of drugs including heroin, cocaine and
methamphetamines along with a mandatory health assessment. The first
statewide law of its kind in the nation passed with support of 58% of
voters this month. It also mandates new recovery centers, paid for by
marijuana taxes and savings from less incarceration.
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Oregon became the first state in the nation to decriminalize the
possession of all illegal drugs and also legalize the use of
psilocybin-the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms-for
mental health treatment, after voters passed a pair of ballot measures
Both are the first of their kind in any U.S. state and represent the
next frontier in the relaxation of drug laws beyond marijuana.
With results from 76% of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning,
59% of Oregonians approved Measure 110, the drug decriminalization
referendum, and 56% voted for Measure 109 on psilocybin therapy,
according to the Associated Press.
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