More Americans have died from fatal overdoses in 2020 than in any other year since we started tracking the data. It was both historic and tragic. But the cover misses the big picture. As the media centers the story on the COVID pandemic, it completely ignores the underlying cause of the outbreak: Democratic drug permissiveness policies.
The New York Times framed the 2020 peak around COVID, compounding an already serious problem. The AP spoke with experts noting that it was more difficult to get treatment in person due to the COVID restriction. The Washington Post has suggested that the stress of COVID has driven people into drugs.
There is no doubt that COVID has exacerbated the crisis, but the actual policies that allowed addiction to soar have been lost in coverage.
From Portland and Seattle to Chicago and Boston, Democratic-led cities have refused to prosecute most drug-related crimes. Instead, these cities said they would give drug addicts treatment while targeting drug traffickers for arrest and prosecution.
OVERDOSAGE DEATHS IN THE UNITED STATES RECORDED 93,000 AMID CORONAVIRUS LAST YEAR
But many criminal drug addicts rarely follow through on treatment orders because there are no significant consequences when they ignore the courts. The criminals knew that no matter how often they reoffended, they knew they would not see jail time.
And the results? The Chicago area has seen a 20% increase in overdose deaths, fueled by opioid addiction. Oregon, led by a surge in the Portland area, saw a 40% increase.
Meanwhile, drug traffickers avoid prison by easily exploiting drug decriminalization policies favored by the left.
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Take a look at Seattle, where I have covered the devastating toll of drugs on our communities over the past few years. King County District Attorney Dan Satterburg has announced that his office will drop charges against suspects in possession of “personal possession” amounts of illicit drugs. It was already an unofficial policy, but he codified it in 2018. And it effectively legalized anything an addict could get.
A dramatic increase in overdose deaths followed.
From the year before the official policy change until 2020, King County saw an almost 40% increase in fatal overdoses, with 2021 on track to surpass last year’s record. Fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin are the main causes of overdoses.
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You wouldn’t know Seattle is in the midst of an OD crisis because ideologues locally ignore the results of their social experiment while the liberal media presents Emerald City as a case study of the right way to approach the war on violence. drug. New York Times opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof once boasted, “Seattle has figured out how to end the war on drugs. Maybe he should visit or at least look at the stats?
Suffolk County, Massachusetts District Attorney Rachael Rollins receives the same treatment. The Boston-area ideologue has stopped prosecuting drug offenses. It has been declared a success, although opioid-related deaths hit a ten-year record last year.
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And then there are drug dealers who openly sell drugs in the cities where they live. Criminals carry less product, so they only have personal possession amounts on them in the rare event that they are arrested. They end up restocking more often during the day, but this saves them from going to jail for a few hours.
For other dealers, they know that if charged, they’ll likely get a generous plea deal that provides little or no jail time. And many times they illegally possess handguns and other weapons. With fewer police forces against drug traffickers, these guns remain on the streets and contribute to the rise in gun violence.
The Mexican drug cartels have taken note. With President Joe Biden’s open border policies, they are flooding American cities with illicit drugs.
“The Pacific Northwest of the United States is under siege by the Mexico-based CJNG [Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación] cartel, which is flooding the region with synthetic opioids secretly produced in prescription pill form, ”the Drug Enforcement Agency said in a report released in March.
The cartels targeted Washington state more directly. CJNG is said to have mixed drugs with fentanyl, sending the contaminated drugs statewide. Small amounts of fentanyl can be fatal. In Oregon and California, cartels operate illegal marijuana operations.
Yet rather than tackle the root causes of the drug crisis, cities on the left are embracing the drug tolerance policies already responsible for so many deaths.
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Louisiana has seen one of the largest increases in drug overdoses statewide in 2020. Yet district attorney’s office Jason Williams announced in April that it would decline to prosecute possession charges. small amounts of all drugs except heroin and fentanyl. This exception makes little sense, given how lethal prescription opioids, methamphetamine and cocaine can be. It also contributes to a drug culture that says it’s okay to get high no matter what the consequences.
Without leaders focusing on where the crisis is deepening, 2021 will likely see another record year of overdose deaths.
So why aren’t Democrats changing their ways? It is a blind and stubborn adherence to an ideology.
There is a gradual push to decriminalize and legalize drugs. They argue that the justice system is racist and that drug crimes disproportionately punish people of color. While this observation is lazy and misleading, since crimes always happen and are not the result of a conspiracy to plant drugs on innocent people, it carries deadly consequences.
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Failure to prosecute drug crimes may prevent people from going to jail, but it does not prevent them from overdosing prematurely. And the momentum behind these policies continues.
All of our communities are worse off because of this.
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