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 3-7pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Photo: The Wing Luke Museum....

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Wing Luke Museum staff stage walkout over fight against antisemitism

The antisemitic staff at Wing Luke Museum in Seattle walked out on the job because an exhibit condemned antisemitism.

9 hours ago

Bob Ferguson...

Jason Rantz

Rantz Exclusive: Secretary of State says AG Bob Ferguson demanded he break law in vulgar tirade

Secretary of State Steve Hobbs says Attorney General Bob Ferguson demanded he break the law in a vulgar and angry tirade.

4 days ago

Image: The crowd cheers at the 2013 Bumbershoot Arts & Music Festival in Seattle....

Jason Rantz

Rantz: It’s time to pull the plug on Bumbershoot Seattle after latest disaster lineup

The newest Bumbershoot lineup confirms what we've known for a while: this music festival is dead in Seattle.

5 days ago

refugees...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Asylum seeker says Seattle activists are taking advantage of migrants

Migrants seeking asylum are being taken advantage of by Seattle housing activists convincing them to illegally occupy parks.

6 days ago

Photo: The anti-Israel encampment at the University of Washington gave rise to a new hate group: UW...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: UW Seattle embraced the Nazi Youth as a new generation of hate group has formed

The anti-Israel encampment at the University of Washington gave rise to a new hate group: UW Nazi Youth. It's time we call them what they are.

7 days ago

The State Capitol in Olympia...

Jackson Meyer

Bob Ferguson from Graham on governor’s race: ‘My intent was to win’

After Washington AG Bob Ferguson threatened legal action, two candidates also named Bob Ferguson have withdrawn from the gubernatorial race.

11 days ago

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