JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Seattle Council plans to bribe meth addicts in latest inevitable failure

Oct 25, 2022, 5:14 PM | Updated: 6:10 pm
meth addicts...
(Photo courtesy of The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH)
(Photo courtesy of The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH)

Meth overdoses are surging in Seattle and King County. It’s too bad we don’t have serious leaders willing to tackle the problem. Instead, they think bribing addicts with gift cards will have them turn their lives around.

Fatal meth ODs jumped from 96 in 2016 to 318 this year thus far, according to a recent Seattle City Council-ordered audit. It noted the homeless community is particularly susceptible to meth addiction. And many of them, the audit confirms, commit violent crimes.

Declaring there is an “unmet and urgent need for methamphetamine treatment,” councilmembers Andrew Lewis and Lisa Herbold propose a “contingency management” strategy. It’s a convoluted way to say they will bribe people into sobriety. And while their intentions are good, this program is a joke.

Rantz: AG Bob Ferguson is banning certain reporters from press conferences

The absurd plan

Under the proposal, addicts join a 12-week program where they meet with a clinician or social worker twice a week. At the meetings, the addict will provide a urine sample to test for recent drug use. If the drug test is negative, the addict is immediately offered a gift card.

For each subsequent negative test, the gift card will increase. If the test is positive or an appointment is missed, the addict’s reward will revert back to the lowest level and rebuild. The average reward amount is $300 under this approach.

The audit report claims contingency management has “strong research evidence” that it works. But paragraphs later, it highlights what the data actually says.

Those who need the most help, such as years-long meth addicts driven homeless by the disease, do not see positive outcomes. And those who see positive outcomes only see that success lasts about six months, according to research.

Rantz: WA judges side with accused drug dealer over ludicrous claim of racism

The reality of addiction

Meth addiction is a disease, not something treated with a $300 gift card to Best Buy. To think this approach would work on homeless addicts, in particular, shows a terrifying lack of knowledge about the crisis.

Bribing addicts is endorsed because it’s considered innovative or bold simply due to no one else trying it. But if treating addiction was as easy as giving people money, we’d already see money pouring into these programs.

Investing in or paying for someone to attend a medical detox facility deserves our attention. Not only does it treat the addiction, it helps mitigate withdrawal effects, which include psychosis. There’s no gift card that can mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal. And after one is fully detoxed, a behavioral therapy program can best handle the challenges facing recovering meth addicts, in particular.

Contingency management can be a part of behavioral therapy, post-detox, if the city uses private dollars to help entice recovering addicts to remain sober. But Motivational Incentives for Enhanced Drug Abuse Recovery (MIEDAR) is more cost effective.

The MIEDAR approach is also incentive-based. But rather than a pay-per-clean-urine-test system, you raffle off prizes to sober participants. Studies suggest it’s at least as effective as contingency management. And it’s considerably cheaper.

‘I’m not moving, and I’ve got guns’: Drug dealer stakes claim to Seattle business

You need more than a drug treatment program

The city also can’t ignore its own policies that create meth addicts.

City councilmembers, the mayor, and Democrats statewide endorse drug legalization. They just call it decriminalizing. They argue that drug laws “disproportionately impact the BIPOC community,” and by legalizing drugs, they help “dismantle systems of oppression” by removing law enforcement. In doing so, Democrats create more addicts.

When you legalize drugs, dealers flood the area with product to sell. And when Democrat policy is to keep the border open, Mexican drug cartels take advantage. This isn’t surprising. Why did meth and fentanyl ODs increase so dramatically since 2016? Because the region ended drug law enforcement, before legalizing it entirely.

The city could implement a number of plans to treat addiction tomorrow if it wanted. But for every success story, another person will become an addict because of the very drug-permissive environment the city created. You can’t implement programs without cracking down on legalization, if you truly want success.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Patrick pukes...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: A friend asks Patrick to wait at bus stop while he pukes

A friend asked Patrick to wait at a Seattle bus stop while he goes to puke via a touching, complex, and hand-written note.
6 days ago
Despite a rise in crime, some on the City Council - including Teresa Mosqueda - are trying to defun...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle Councilmembers are trying to defund the police again

Despite a rise in crime, some on the City Council are trying to defund the Seattle Police Department again.
7 days ago
racism claim...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Racism claim against local high school doesn’t add up, media rushes to judgment

"On more than five occasions, we had players coming to the sideline enraged from the racist remarks they were hearing from Stanwood players."
11 days ago
gilday...
Frank Sumrall

Gilday pleads for patience as 10th Legislative District race marches on

The 10th Legislative District remains neck and neck as Greg Gilday trails Clyde Shavers by just 238 votes after holding a brief 15-vote lead Tuesday.
11 days ago
WSU vaccine requirement lawsuit, Nick Rolovich...
Bill Kaczaraba

Exclusive: Ex-WSU Coach Rolovich slams firing over vaccine mandate

Rolovich is Catholic and said in the lawsuit that he applied for a religious exemption from the vaccine, but that exemption was denied.
11 days ago
(Screenshot from bodycam footage acquired by The Jason Rantz Show)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: After Seattle principal stonewalled police, suspect allegedly assaulted two victims

This incident comes as police said they have encountered more hostility from Seattle Public Schools (SPS) staff when responding to incidents.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Rantz: Seattle Council plans to bribe meth addicts in latest inevitable failure