Opinion: Fentanyl Emergency in Portland Proves Far Left Crime and Drug Policies are Killing American Cities

Portland, Oregon, has reached an all-time low thanks to pro-crime state and city policies. It has declared a state of emergency over the fentanyl crisis staining the city. 

Who could have predicted this? Just every sensible person.

In 2020, Portland made the use of drugs, even hard drugs, legal under Measure 110.

Progressives in the blighted City of Roses and nationwide reacted to the move with shouts of approval. Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids, particularly by fentanyl, jumped 533% in Multnomah County from 2018 to 2022.

Measure 110 didn’t solve the city’s drug problem; it made it much, much worse. Woke city officials went for “harm reduction,” passing out smoking straws, snorting kits, and tin foil to users littering the streets. 

Surprise! It didn’t help.

Now, the mayor of Portland, the state’s legislature, and the governor have finally admitted there is a problem. “Everything is on the table,” said a Democrat state senator.

But here is the genuine question: How many formerly great U.S. cities have to go through this?

San Francisco made drug use legal and saw similar results, declaring its state of emergency.

Look at Philadelphia, where fentanyl has turned its most vulnerable citizens into zombies. New York’s Health Department encourages people to use tranq and heroin.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. If you encourage the use of deadly drugs and all the property crime and accompanying violence that goes with it: social decay, death, and degradation, you get more deadly drug use. It’s evident to anyone willing to look honestly at the situation.

Some of the woke politicians in Portland seem to have finally opened their eyes.

The tragedy will only worsen unless there is a complete accounting and rollback of these terrible policies.

Oregon Democrat Governor Tina Kotek, Jessica Vega Pederson, Multnomah County Chair, and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued ordinances to create a command center for drug overdose prevention and response 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,” said Governor Kotek.

“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.”

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

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

Officials with the health department will also collect data on the impacts of fentanyl in the Portland downtown area to address gaps strategically in the government’s approach to quelling the growing drug problem in the city.

The effort extends to the partnership between the Oregon State Police and the Portland Police Bureau to crack down on those pushing the deadly drugs. At the same time, health representatives will conduct outreach with civilians, including training on the use of Narcan and distributing the medication.

“Today, we move forward with urgency to address these challenges together under the authority of emergency declarations. This is exactly the type of coordinated action needed to make a direct impact and a lasting difference,” said Mayor Wheeler.

Oregon is dealing with the most significant increase in synthetic overdose deaths in the country as well as the third highest of all overdose deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Democrats in Oregon proposed to roll back a portion of the decriminalization law, which would undo a crucial part of the original bill but would send those caught with hard drugs to addiction counseling, not prison.