Oregon Banned Straws & Legalized Drug Needles - Here's What It Looks Like Today


The new year is well underway, and the war on litter and waste is reportedly on in progressive Oregon.

At least in part, that is.

According to WasteDive, two major pieces of environmental legislation passed by the state government last year in an effort to reduce waste by banning, in varying capacities, the distribution of single-use plastic straws and bags should now be in full effect, working their magic.

(Plastic straws are not altogether banned, but restaurants can only hand them out upon request.)

But 2020 Republican congressional candidate Joey Nations took it upon himself this weekend to show the world those two additional bullet points in the Oregon legal code have done absolutely nothing to combat the state’s most dangerous waste and litter problem: improperly disposed-of drug needles.

The first state to legalize the pharmaceutical and retail sale of hypodermic needles, according to an official 2018 statement from Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon has for some reason prided itself as a national leader in the push to increase needle access.

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Touting the state’s policies as a genius and humane step forward in public health efforts to halt the spread of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B or C, Brown has argued that wider access would protect the community at large, turning intravenous drug users away from the dangerous reuse and sharing of needles.

Thus, Brown issued a public statement in February 2018 outright encouraging pharmacies and business to make the needles as easily accessible as possible for drug users.

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She argued the policy would in no way “promote injection drug use” or “increase criminal activity in surrounding areas,” and therefore gave it the governmental seal of approval.

Of course, the governor seemed to miss the irony in the fact that such a statement amounts to a full-sale endorsement of increased access to single use plastics — hazardous ones most members of the general population have no readily accessible safe means of disposal for.

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But such logical thinking escapes the American left — who would much rather forward policies that feel good than policies that do good.

See, leftist government officials would much rather be the cool aunt or babysitter than the responsible parent.

That is to say, they would rather be well-liked than effective in the long term.

And that sort of attitude rarely gets you anywhere.

In fact, when dealing with children, that attitude leads to no shortage of destructive behaviors and a house littered with toys.

With society’s intravenous drug users, on the other hand, it leaves you with a lot of sharp, hazardous litter — as we’ve seen in New York, California and elsewhere.

And according to Nations, that is exactly what Oregon has been left with under Brown’s leadership.

“Oregon has a problem,” Nations tweeted Saturday.

“We ban straws and hand out needles. We found 74 needles today! This empty field in the CAPITOL of Oregon right next to Fred Meyer is testament to thousands of other American towns. It’s time to put #AmericaFirst!”

Of course, acting as the oft-hated responsible parent, conservatives are left cleaning up the mess.

Which is just what happened in Nations’ case, as numerous volunteers from the Women for Trump movement banded together with him to undertake the dangerous task of cleaning up an overgrown Oregon field found to be littered with 74 hypodermic needles.

But I’m sure we’re all glad they didn’t have to pick up any contraband plastic straws.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.