- Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek, alongside the Mayor of Portland Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, declared a 90-day state of emergency in downtown Portland on Tuesday over concerns about the drug fentanyl. The declaration will see all three levels of government allocate resources and establish a 'command center' to address the issue.1
- The command center will connect drug addicts with first responders and give them access to resources, including drug treatment centers, behavioral health doctors, and food benefits. The Portland police will also partner with the state police in patrolling the city's downtown for sales of fentanyl.2
- Over the 90 days, the Multnomah County Health Department will promote public education campaigns, including on public transit and billboards, as well as in digital and audio media, among others. Portland, for its part, will coordinate with the county in 'conducting outreach on the streets' and 'distribut[ing] and train[ing] partners on the use of Narcan.'1
- Oregon has seen a growing number of overdose deaths since decriminalizing small amounts of most drugs in 2020, and now has the most synthetic opioid overdoses in the country and the third-highest amount of all overdose deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).3
- As opioid drug overdoses in the state increased from 738 in 2021 to 956 a year later, Gov. Kotek has also proposed recriminalizing public drug use and giving police more resources to combat drug dealing. She also wants to expand services to help the homeless.4
- Fentanyl, which can be up to 50 times as potent as heroin and roughly 100 times as strong as morphine, reportedly killed over 107K people in the US between January 2019 and June 2022 — two-thirds of which were linked to synthetic opioids. According to the CDC, there are more than 150 daily deaths due to synthetic opioids.5
- Democratic narrative, as provided by OPB. The health and safety factors at play have never been lost on the government, but the rate at which this drug has infected the streets has been difficult for everyone to catch up with. The danger of fentanyl is unlike any other drug, which is why each level of government in the state has been developing coordinated programs to combat the issue. This emergency declaration is Oregon's strongest anti-fentanyl effort yet, and it will also be the most impactful.
- Republican narrative, as provided by Daily Mail. All of the Democrats' favorite policies have come together to create this tragedy. After the city defunded the police in 2020, drug use and homelessness skyrocketed, prompting them to increase the police budget by over $5M a year later. And after they decriminalized drugs, both drug addiction and overdose deaths soared through the roof. This is a manmade crisis that could've been avoided if the state, county, and city governments had chosen common sense over politics.