“The main idea behind Measure 110 was that consuming politically disfavored intoxicants should not be treated as a crime. Since drug use itself violates no one’s rights, it is hard to argue with that premise.
Eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession, however, does not require tolerating conduct that offends, incommodes, or alarms people who have an equal right to use sidewalks, parks, and other taxpayer-funded facilities. That problem—which many major cities face, regardless of whether they routinely arrest people for drug possession—is distinct from drug use per se, just as disorderly alcohol-related conduct is distinct from drinking per se.”
“According to a 2016 systematic review, “evidence does not, on the whole, suggest improved outcomes related to compulsory treatment approaches, with some studies suggesting potential harms.” The authors conclude that “given the potential for human rights abuses within compulsory treatment settings, non-compulsory treatment modalities should be prioritized by policymakers seeking to reduce drug-related harms.”
One danger of jailing noncompliant drug users is that incarceration raises the risk of a fatal overdose because forced abstinence reduces tolerance. According to a 2023 study, that risk is “markedly elevated” among people recently freed from prison, especially during the first two weeks after release.”