News Apr 21, 2023 at 10:36 am

Washington Democrats Set to Levy Harsher Punishments for Drug Possession

Several state Democrats are joining Republicans in embracing a carceral approach to a public health problem. CROUTON

Comments

4

The war is over. Drugs won.

6

sorry, I just can't get on board with letting people do whatever they want until they are ready to get help. If they were just doing drugs that would be one thing but the collateral damage of the drug problem is a greater burden on society than locking them up for being assholes. Just because they could be sentenced doesn't mean they will be. As we've seen time and again many judges in Seattle and KC are quite ok letting people who commit much more serious crimes off with no jail time served so I'm ok doing this and letting the system work as intended.

7

It still amazes me that right-wing twits, across the board, cannot get this simple fact: the drug war created just about all of the societal ills associated with drug use. Doubling down on it has always been, and will always be, completely and utterly insane.

9

Throwing people in jail because they have a drug problem literally exacerbates the problem. This is just plain incompetence.

Well, it would be incompetence if the goal was to solve problems instead of win elections. Democracy is a better form of government than autocracy or oligarchy, but all it takes is 51% of the population to decide to do something shitty for that shittiness to be enforced by law.

11

We all know that prosecuting the gang leaders and meth producers won't lead to useful TV "news" that all the Fear Mongers can obsess over, when it's really all linked back to pharma boys starting this whole thing with the help of Chinese and Mexican suppliers.

12

Jail serves two purposes. Punish the individual who has done something egregious by removing their freedom. Everyone gets stuck on that and when it comes to drug users of course that doesn't make sense. The second though is to protect the greater public from someone who is victimizing others. In this case it doesn't matter if it's intentional or they have other issues like addiction. What matters is their issues have gotten beyond their control and now it's impacting those around them negatively enough that we need to put them somewhere to protect themselves and others. It would be great if we would wait and solve poverty and addiction but until then there are going to be some people who need to be removed from society not for them but the rest of us. Whether jail is appropriate and they can use that time to get better is for the judge to decide and for the person to accept.

14

As noted @1, Seattle has tried a form of decriminalization, and the results have been disastrous. Little wonder the focus on “harm reduction” has become “reduce the harm the drug user causes to everyone else,” per the logic @12 describes.

This all results from the failed policies which Seattle, King County, and Washington state have implemented to address homelessness. The Stranger’s years of refusing to recognize these failures as failures has helped to feed this punitive response.

15

@14 it's not just that The Stranger refuses to recognize these failures. They openly campaigned for these policies, with an endless slew of hit pieces against anyone who opposed them. The Stranger is one of the most powerful political actors in this city because our neverending pipeline of starry-eyed young progressives, who move here thinking they've found their quirky ideological utopia, treat The Stranger as gospel and never question its agenda.

18

There's no question that people who are addicted to drugs have a disease. I don't think anyone sets out to be a tweaker. Prosecuting the drug use itself seems like it is getting us nowhere.

I'd much rather see a crackdown on the criminal behavior associated with drug use. Offer treatment at no charge for everyone who wants it and make it a more attractive option by disallowing the associated anti-social behavior. If we have to give everyone methadone, so be it. The rules around that could use some relaxing. But along with that, prosecute thefts, burglaries and assaults. Toss people smoking drugs or shooting up off public transit, out of the park, etc. Every. single. time. No excuses.

If you can manage to do drugs without becoming a problem for the rest of us, more power to you. But my catalytic converter, or the merch in stores, or whatever is in the home you decide to burglarize, is not yours for the taking to feed your habit. And don't give me the "survival crime" line.

20

@7: Drug Prohibition didn’t create the serious disease of addiction, but does inhibit treatments for that disease, and exacerbates many other problems addiction creates. As noted @12, incarceration protects other individuals in society from becoming victims of drug-related crimes, such as theft and assault. That’s a valid role for incarceration, and even if it remains the worst route for getting an addict into treatment, it is still a route. There’s nothing “insane” about it.

Actual insanity consists of allowing addicts to remain mired in their addictions, enabled by non-enforcement of laws against theft and assault, and yet somehow expecting them also to seek treatment voluntarily. Seattle has wasted ten years — and countless lives — demonstrating this simply does not work. Unsurprisingly, there are now majorities of voters in liberal Seattle willing to give sweeps and incarceration a try. Calling them “right-wing twits” won’t change any of that dismal history, which now drives sweeps and jail time.

21

How is non-prosecution for drug use plus non- prosecution for theft a winning formula?

23

@22: “…regular ol’ folks just wanting to have a package actually delivered or enjoy a nearby park are painted as NINBY jerks for wanting some safety, security, sanity.”

Worse yet, they could be parents who care about the safety of their children when walking to school. That crowd really got a blast of hatred from the Stranger. (https://www.thestranger.com/news/2023/03/21/78913110/the-parents-dont-want-shelter-they-want-sweeps)

24

Person caught using drugs... Illegal -- There is a penalty

The Far Left Solution:

a) Do Nothing, Console the Drug addict, Use Baby Talk & Compassion Babble to entreat the addict to go to rehab which lasts about 2 weeks and is ineffective..... Oh yes, get them housing so they can resume their addiction in comfort.

Center party Democrat:

b) Go To jail, do not collect $200
c) See (a) minus the compassion babble

Gee I wonder why this isn't working?


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