There is a complex relationship between drug addiction and criminal behavior. Over and over, statistics show a strong connection between crime and drug abuse. Most criminals use substance abuse as a coping mechanism to conduct a crime.
Oregon was the first state to legalize drug possession in 2020. Michael Schmid, the attorney of Portland, the largest city in Oregon, decriminalized possession of drugs even before the state passed the law. Today, Oregon is reaping the fruits of this experiment. Drug addiction is skyrocketing, high level of violent crime, and people are not getting treated for addiction.
The law, referred to as Measure 110, legalized drug possession in small quantities, including heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, among other substances. Additionally, people caught possessing these drugs are charged small fines rather than misdemeanor offenses. As a result of this law, drug addiction in Oregon rose by 33 % in 2021, one year after the legislation. We urge those who are seeking help for friends on a loved one to find treatment in Oregon.
According to a report by Portland police, the largest city in Oregon, the legalization and drug addiction led to a jump in crime and addiction in Oregon – from economic to system-related crimes.
Prostitution and theft are the commonly known economic-related crimes associated with drugs. They are the criminal activities that drug addicts commit to acquire money to buy drugs. So, Property crimes in Oregon have risen as drug addicts steal and resell items. Any time a drug market opens, drug dealers move in to cover the demand for the substance. As a result, Portland streets are filled with drugs and gun violence. In 2021, there were 90 homicides recorded in Portland, a record high for the city’s annual deaths.
Formation of Criminal Gangs
System-related crimes are caused by how the criminal justice system handles drug dealers and how drugs are sold to addicts. Some of the crimes include drug manufacturing, transportation and selling, and violence associated with these activities. Criminal groups rob each other daily because of the high demand for drugs and the conducive environment for drug trafficking in Oregon.
The largest drug market in Oregon is Portland city. Mexican drug smugglers are dominant in this region because of its location, population size, and high Hispanic population. They sell wholesale drugs to criminal gangs, who distribute them to middle and retail sellers.
According to a Portland task force report, Portland has more than 80 street gangs with over 3000 members. These gangs are involved in the city’s heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and methamphetamine distribution. The rise in criminal gangs and hard drugs results from high demand from many people who are addicted in Oregon.
Spousal Abuse and Rape
Since alcohol is readily available and legal, it is strongly related to violence and crime. Most violent crimes, such as spousal abuse, assault, rape, and murder, were associated with alcohol abuse.
The Nation Survey on Health and use of drugs report showed that as of 2020, 9 percent of adults and teens were drug addicts. Around 12 Percent of Oregon residents aged 12 and above admitted they abused alcohol.
The combined result ranked Oregon second in the worst drug addiction in the US, with almost one in five adults and teens admitting alcohol or drug challenges. Deaths from Overdose are also on the rise in Oregon. A health authority data in Oregon showed that almost 700 people perished from substance abuse in 2020.
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Prostitution is also high as drugs desensitize feeling disgusted and shame, allowing prostitutes to continue their work on the street. The prostitutes trade sexual favors for money to finance their addiction problems.
Child Neglect and Abuse
Child neglect and abuse are also associated with addiction. In most cases, parents addicted to drugs are unwilling or unable to take care of their children. Some parents use children to transport drugs in some scenarios, risking potential injuries and arrests.
There is illicit finance in Oregon. It involves a money laundering technique that drug traffickers use as they transport drug sales proceeds. Mexican traffickers smuggle money from Oregon through commercial and private vehicles. As measure 110 continues to be affected, more money is channeled from drug abusers to traffickers.
In conclusion, crime and addiction in Oregon are highly related; the Measure 110 law aimed to address the racial disparity gap by directing offenders to treatment rather than jailing them. However, the addiction rate is still high, and most crimes, such as burglary, prostitution, and criminal gangs, arise from drug addiction as the victims search for money to fund their drug purchases.