It's rare that a state government admits that it made a terrible mistake by repealing a law that it recently passed. No, the state isn't California, Washington, Utah, or Idaho. The state that faces a declared emergency is Idaho's neighbor, Oregon. 

Unlike Oregon, Idaho is a law-and-order state that keeps illegal drugs illegal.

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Four years ago, Oregon passed Measure 110, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs. Those drugs were heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine. The state had already legalized the buying and selling of medical and recreational marijuana. 

Instead of arresting drug users, the state gave the criminal a demerit—not really, but a one-hundred-dollar fine and a phone number to seek treatment. Lawmakers, at the time, believed that recreational drug users would be better off with a fine and not crowding the state's court and prison system. If you called the number to seek treatment, the fine was reduced. 

Today, the state realized it had made a big mistake. The Wall Street Journal describes the situation: 'Open-air drug dealing and use became the norm, frustrating local officials, including Portland's mayor, as there was little anyone could do. Oregon in 2021-22 had the highest rate of residents reporting past-month use of illicit drugs—not including marijuana—of any state in the U.S., behind the District of Columbia.'

The statistics show a more alarming trend, as detailed in the Wall Street Journal from the Centers for Disease Control. Overdose deaths in the state rose seventy-five percent from 2020 to 2022. The state legislature has passed a bill that recriminalizes drug use. It is now on the governor's desk, who has yet to sign it. 

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