(NationRise.com) – Democratic Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has declared a state of emergency after an appalling number of deaths caused by fentanyl overdoses. Portland’s Democrat mayor, Ted Wheeler, and Multnomah County chairman Jessica Vega Pederson joined Kotek in announcing an emergency command center that will help with drug overdoses for a minimum of three months.
Kotek acknowledged that the fentanyl crisis is unprecedented and has left officials struggling to find a proper response. She hopes the declaration will lead to fruitful collaborations and results.
The emergency declaration comes just three years after the people of Oregon voted to pass the state’s highly controversial Measure 110 law, a measure that largely decriminalized drug use and possession. The goals of the law, according to the Democrats who passed it, were to prioritize drug treatments and reduce the arrests of minorities by 94%. The measure did reduce the arrests of minorities, but it has also been blamed for a significant increase in drug-related deaths.
Oregon Republicans began supporting measures to repeal the law in January. Kotek said on January 31st that she may also support measures to repeal the law and recriminalize drugs.
Fentanyl is often described as the most dangerous drug in the United States. Experts have said that it’s more accurately described as a ”mass poisoning” of the population than a typical drug problem. The substance is extremely addicting, highly lethal, and easy to buy.
An influx of fentanyl across the southern border has been blamed for a sharp increase in the number of drug-related deaths. Drug traffickers have used a variety of methods to move fentanyl across the US border, including disguising it as candy.
Drug-fueled crimes have also surged significantly in downtown Portland. Visitors and workers who live in suburbs are increasingly concerned about their safety. It has also harmed local businesses, especially hotels. The government has allocated $800,000 to beef up security and is even working with private security firms to patrol the area.
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