Decriminalizing drugs doesn’t help addicts
Should we decriminalize all drug possession? asked Jason Rantz. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is the latest progressive politician to adopt that policy prescription—which, in practice, would actually “devastate our cities.” My city, Seattle, has already decriminalized personal possession of drugs—with “disastrous results.” Yes, jailing addicts doesn’t solve the drug crisis, and governments should ensure that anyone who wants drug treatment is able to get it. But if the goal is to reduce drug addiction, decriminalizing possession of such deadly substances as methamphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin “doesn’t work.” In Seattle, overdose deaths have risen significantly since decriminalization. Dealers now operate brazenly in “a large, open-air drug market” in downtown Seattle, knowing that if they carry small amounts, they won’t be arrested. Drug use and addiction are rampant in the large, needle-filled encampments of homeless people, some of whom commit crimes to fund their habit. Addicts themselves know “they won’t see meaningful jail time” for buying or carrying, so “they have less of an incentive to take up offers of treatment.” Decriminalizing drugs is one of the many progressive policies that sound noble—but backfire in the real world.