A few years ago Oregon voters voted YES on Oregon Measure 110 which decriminalized drug possession for own use, any drug. Since then fentanyl has swept the nation. In fact the leading cause of death nationwide for people age 18-45 is fentanyl. Of course I got that info from the world wide web, it is not like I have interviewed experts on leading causes of death in the US. Best to not do drugs. But people do drugs, that is just how it is. Unless you live in a country like Japan, Saudi Arabia or N Korea or some place where there is zero tolerance to all illegal drugs and the penalties for drug offenses are harsh. Sweden too has zero tolerance but people do drugs there but you won't face the death penalty or ten years incarceration if you get caught with heroin for personal use for example.
With Measure 110 open drug use became kind of normal around Portland. Random people would sometimes come into one of the clubs I worked and smoke drugs in the bathrooms (meth and fentanyl supposedly). I have seen people get high on the streets here and seeing people completely passed out in the middle of sidewalks all over Portland is nothing unusual. You don't know if they are dead or sleeping. I should add here that people were coming in to one of the clubs I worked at in Alaska and smoked meth in the bathroom. So this is not some sudden Oregon issue due to Measure 110.
The difference between rich people doing drugs and poor people doing drugs is that rich people can basically be functioning addicts for as long as they want while poor people run into issues like losing their job due to addiction, homelessness and how they are going to support their drug habits. Had Hunter Biden not had the money his family name has amassed I think he would be living in a tent somewhere or be dead by now.
I personally know a very wealthy guy here in Portland (richer in dollars than most will ever be) that is an alcoholic with not a single worry in his life. Well, he probably has some worries but nothing close to the worries that most people have. He has a huge home that is paid off by the family trust money, does not work, gets a monthly "allowance", spends most of his days doing not much of anything. The everyday chore is basically getting booze and frying up a large steak. He lost his driver's license years ago cause he crashed his car into another car (driven by an attorney) while drunk. Got off with a slap on the wrist because he is wealthy. Lost his license but still drives. And drives drunk. Yea.....
So yea there is a huge difference here in the US between the treatment of rich people and their addictions and poor people and their addictions.
Recently a modification to Measure 110 got passed here in Oregon, House Bill 2645 which criminalizes posession of fentanyl, even small amounts. Because a very small amount of fentanyl is lethal. Let's see what changes that will bring.
I am downtown Portland volunteering on an almost weekly basis since almost four years now and I have seen some stuff.
I have a lot of empathy for the homeless. This is not only a Portland problem like some seem to think. There are homeless people all over the US. At the same time that I have empathy I also feel annoyed and frustrated with what I have seen.
What can be done if anything to deal with these problems? I read the local news and the opinions on issues from the people that live here. One of the biggest complaints the people that live in Portland have is the homeless issue with the tents and the RVs all over and all the problems this brings. Some say that taking away the resources is the way to go because that forces people to hit rock bottom and only when you hit rock bottom you will want to make a change. I don't know, this is not a black and white issue. I would have a hard time denying somebody food and water if they needed it.
Portland is now building tent cities and small homes areas where the homeless will be asked to live so they do not live on the streets or the side of the freeways and roads anymore. I think that this is a good idea but some of the homeless are angry and comparing these places to concentration camps which I think is a ridiculous comparison not even worthy to discuss. And there are in fact some people that rather live on the streets instead of some form of housing.
It is so easy to judge but a lot of the people living on the streets have mental health issues, they self medicate with drugs, many people that were shuffled through the system as foster kids end up homeless. Remember, that person was once a child. Many children live terrible lives filled with abuse. Not such an easy and straight road perhaps to become a successful and functioning person after having a trauma filled childhood.
I do think affordable housing is super important. Rents are way too high in Portland and other places too. That should be illegal. Some people can't afford to live in an apartment even with a full time job, it should not be like that.
I feel strongly that an early start educating teenagers about family planning is important. I also think that active drug addicts and alcoholics should not be allowed to reproduce until they are completely clean. If you can't take care of yourself, you cannot take care of a child. Being a child's parent is the most important task a person can ever take on and if you are not equipped to go on that journey you have no businesss putting children to this already over populated planet. Rights to reproduction should also be immediately terminated for life if a person commits crimes against children and animals, like pedophilia, child abuse/neglect and animal abuse. To me that person should no longer be allowed to be around children and animals. There are no excuses in my eyes for people like that. Yea I think having children should not be somebody's automatic right just because you have sperm or a uterus. The planet IS over populated. There is no need to put more children into the people pool unless you are able to be a great parent and even then the outcome is not guaranteed.
So Australia recently legalized clinical prescribing of MDMA (often called ecstasy) and psilocybin. Oregon passed Measure 109 a few years ago which allows for the use of psilocybin in a licensed psilocybin center. I personally have very positive experiences with both MDMA and psilocybin. And no I do not use drugs or drink alcohol on a regular basis, on the contrary. The prices to use psilocybin in a theraputic center in Oregon are outragous, I am not sure how many clients these places will actually attract. I have seen numbers like $500 for a microdose and up to $3500 for 4 grams of psilocybin. Also only a certain kind of psilocybin is permitted. Too bad that the Feds closed down Shroom House here in Portland last year.
I strongly believe in the amazing qualities of psilocybin and MDMA which I think can do wonders for humanity if used with care.