Mental Health

published : 2023-09-07

Portland City Council Votes to Ban Open Drug Use, With One Catch

New ordinance includes trigger amendment and rising concern over synthetic drug

A photo showing the Portland City Council chambers, where the decision to ban open drug use was made. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

The City of Portland, Oregon, has taken a decisive step in combatting drug use on public property. The City Council voted 5-0 to ban the use of hard drugs like fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine in public.

This emergency ordinance, approved by unanimous consent, introduces criminal penalties for drug use in public spaces. It aims to address the growing concern over illicit drug consumption.

However, the ban will not immediately take effect. The ordinance includes a 'trigger' amendment which stipulates that penalties can only be enforced once state lawmakers pass a new bill granting municipalities the authority to do so.

An image of a city skyline featuring Portland, Oregon, where the ban on hard drugs in public spaces was enacted. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

To strengthen its approach, the resolution also directs the Office of Government Relations to collaborate with other local governments and the state Legislature. This partnership aims to find effective solutions to the significant impact of hard drug use on public property.

The recent vote comes in the wake of a survey conducted by Emerson. The poll discovered that over half of registered Oregon voters support the complete repeal of Measure 110, an initiative that decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs.

While Oregon lawmakers recently criminalized possession of a gram or more of fentanyl, Wednesday's ordinance is not expected to alter Ballot Measure 110, which was passed in 2020 with majority support.

A photograph capturing the engaged audience during the City Council meeting, as they discuss the impact of drug consumption on public property. (Taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III)

During the discussion preceding the vote, most speakers expressed support for the ban. However, there was one voice of concern. This individual worried that it might result in fewer opportunities for intervention.

In the pursuit of balanced reporting, Fox News Digital has reached out to members of Portland's City Council for additional comment.

As we await their response, it is crucial to recognize the gravity of this decision. With the ban on open drug use, Portland takes a decisive step towards combating the rising tide of drug-related issues on public property.