Portland Declares 90-Day State of Emergency Due to Fentanyl
Tuesday, a state of emergency was declared in Portland over the issue of fentanyl and related overdoses.
Gov. Declares state of emergency
According to the Associated Press (AP) and city officials, the 90-day period does not set specific goals as to reducing numbers of users, but instead will serve as an informational 'blueprint' to help the city move forward.
Governor Tina Kotek, Mayor Tim Wheeler, and Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vegas Pederson are coordinating their efforts, according to the AP:
"The three governments are directing their agencies to work with first responders in connecting people addicted to the synthetic opioid with resources including drug treatment programs and to crack down on drug sales."
Law enforcement will be instructed to patrol areas of the city, especially downtown, looking for fentanyl and other drug trafficking. According to city officials, persons believed to be using fentanyl (or other drugs) will be triaged at a downtown command center and given opportunities for treatment.
However, no mention was made about stepping up arrests for the drug, or penalties for drug-related activity.
According to Oregon.gov, unintentional opioid overdoses in Oregon have risen from 280 in 2019, to 956 in 2022. Officials say 2023 data is still incomplete as it is being compiled.
After 90 days, officials will evaluate what, if any, progress has been made.
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Gallery Credit: Andrew Lisa