KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Portland ‘snorting kits’ is the latest way to kill drug addicts

Jul 10, 2023, 5:55 PM | Updated: Jul 11, 2023, 9:09 am

Portland snorting kits...

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

Portland homeless drug addicts are being enabled with “snorting kits,” which allow them to snort drugs rather than use needles. It’s part of a so-called “harm reduction” strategy that encourages drug addiction.

The Multnomah County Health Department announced its new initiative on a Friday, hoping few would notice. The plan is to provide addicts with tools that cuts down on potentially harmful bacteria through sharing or reusing certain drug paraphernalia. Snorting kits typically include straws, plastic razors and something to use as flat surfaces to making snorting drugs easier to accomplish. Additionally, Multnomah County Health hands out tin foil for users to use while smoking fentanyl, according to Fox News.

Advocates of this approach argue it’s a way to push addicts away from dangerous intravenous drug use, where blood borne illness can more easily spread. The harm reduction strategy is, advocates claim, a safer way to consume illicit substances while public health officials work to get the user into treatment. But the strategy doesn’t work and there’s little to no real effort to get addicts into treatment.

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Harm reduction doesn’t work

While harm reduction makes drug use somewhat safer, it’s never safe to consume illicit substances without the close supervision of medical professionals who know how much to administer and the symptoms of dependency.

But advocates downplay the dangers of illicit substances. They push a harm reduction policy to normalize drug use as they push for decriminalization. They do not believe law enforcement should play a role in drug addiction. But they’ve long abandoned any notion that treatment is the right move, either. Referring to a drug “addiction” is stigmatizing, advocates argue, so they do not actively push for treatment.

The City of Seattle has been funding supplies for fentanyl and other drug addicts without any attempt to push treatment. During a May council committee hearing, Seattle City Councilwoman Sara Nelson questioned a group of public health workers that the city funds to tackle the fentanyl crisis. But as the fatal overdoses soar to historic highs, the city (and King County) acknowledged treatment is not a goal.

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Pipes over treatment

Amber Tejada, with the Hepatitis Education Project, was blunt about how Seattle tax dollars are spent when tackling the drug crisis: we’re spending money to make the crisis worse.

“I know it can be a little controversial, but one of the key tenets of harm reduction, that I see, is that we want to be able to facilitate and champion autonomy of people who use drugs,” Tejada said. “And so, you know, there are folks who don’t want to stop using drugs. There are folks for whom abstinence is not something by which they measure their success in life.”

In other words, the city is actively funding programs that help addicts continue to illegally consume drugs that will ultimately kill them. But Tejada pretends this is all safe.

“…People come in, they get safer smoking supplies,” she continued. “They don’t have to inject if they’re smoking. Our friends at People’s Harm Reduction Alliance invented a whole new pipe so that people could smoke and not inject, which is proven to be safer method of using drugs. So, I mean, abstinence is great if that’s something that you have planned for you. But sometimes people are just going to use drugs and it’s not going to lead to abstinence. And I think our mission and I think what we’ve been able to do really successfully with this program is to show that people can use drugs safely.”

‘Snorting kits’ replacing treatment

Advocates claim that when addicts are ready for help, they will provide it. But by keeping addicts high, and championing their autonomy as they live on the streets, these addicts won’t ever ask for help. Sometimes, the only way to hitting rock bottom, is detoxing in jail over a weekend. It’s absolutely miserable, but for many, it gets them willing to go into treatment.

Only, cities, counties and public health departments run by the Radical Left do not fund treatment. They fund drug paraphernalia. And rather than acknowledge addiction causes homelessness, advocates push for the funding of “affordable housing” projects. The tens of millions that go into purchasing a homeless hotel, where an addict will continue to use and ultimately overdose, could go into treatment.

It’s really easy to see the failures of a harm reduction strategy: fatal overdoses have never been higher. There have already been 630 fatal overdoses in King County through July 10 as the county is on pace to far exceeded last year’s record high 1,000 deaths. The majority of the death comes from fentanyl.

We know treatment can work, but too few public leaders are championing funding in either Portland or Seattle. Instead, they’re leaning into progressive talking points about treating drug addictions while the people they claim to care about die in record numbers.

UPDATE 7/11 9:08 a.m.:

The Oregonian reports that public health officials are putting a pause on the distribution of these snorting kits. After the fallout, the department will work to better convince the public that their harm reduction model is the right strategy to tackle the overdose crisis.

“The Health Department remains confident that a robust harm reduction approach is essential to supporting our community, including people who use drugs, their loved ones, and individuals who experience the secondary and tertiary impacts of drug use in our community,” Multnomah County Health Department spokesperson Sarah Dean said in a statement.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). He is the author of the book What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our CitiesSubscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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