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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Nov. 28, 2023

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Letter: Punishment works in war on drugs


Thank you to the Editorial Board for stating that the catastrophic failure of Oregon’s Measure 110 in part “can be attributed to a misguided idea.”

But your editorial (“Decriminalizing drugs harms community,” In Our View, Sept. 20) immediately pulled way back with the very next sentence: “Pointing that out, however, does not provide a solution for our nation’s drug crisis.” I disagree. In fact, it is exactly the answer — the one that worked for almost half a century — put illegal drug users behind bars. Then force them into treatment. This is not complicated nor does there need to be a “tenuous balance” because there is a new drug on the scene. There will always be a new drug on the scene.

The unfortunate fact is that “draconian criminal penalties” work. Put the illegal drug users in prison and you know what happens? Every single other category of crime goes down. Why? Because the users are committing many of those crimes to get money for their drugs.

We need to stop making policy decisions based on how they make us feel, and make decisions based on the use of our intellects. It may not make us feel good, but we know what works.

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