The legislature is mildly re-criminalizing some drug use to the dismay of some progressive groups who seem inured to the increasing tragedy of fentanyl on the streets. Oregon’s saw 280 opioid overdose deaths in 2019, 956 in 2022, and we’re at 628 so far this year. (See CNN’s A major West Coast city is in a state of emergency over fentanyl. Figuring out how to fight the ‘demons’ is its own challenge.)

This is what the fentanyl crisis looks like in a state rethinking its historic drug policy:

Baer and other officers who hand out citations for drug possession must also give out a card that lists a phone number where people can seek addiction treatment services and get their fine dismissed. But in the first year of Measure 110, just 1% of people who received citations called the hotline, state auditors found.

You can’t save people from themselves, but you can give them the time and space to make a free choice. Addicts prioritize their next high over getting help. That’s not free will at work. That’s an addiction controlling an individual. That’s why you’ve got a 1% response rate. That’s also we have to re-criminalize some illicit drug use.