As the homeless population surges here in Los Angeles and elsewhere, the sanctimonious outcry from progressives insisting on more housing and jobs rings more shrill and false than ever. The addiction epidemic remains the root of the crisis with no meaningful end in sight. Even in 2010, well before the opioid epidemic, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that more than half of the homeless population was either in the throes of addiction, mentally ill or both.
If any one measure contributed to the veritable explosion of meth and heroin use on the streets of California, it’s Proposition 47. Infamously titled “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” by none other than Kamala Harris in 2014, Prop 47 inexplicably reduced felony drug possession and felony theft to misdemeanors in an anemic attempt to reduce overcrowding in prisons.
All the measure effectively accomplished, however, was to allow for open drug use just about everywhere including our neighborhoods and schools. As many Californians now witness on a daily basis, homeless addicts are now free to openly use meth and heroin anywhere, including public restrooms and subways, with little fear of reprisal. Prop 47 has tied the hands of law enforcement by reducing the severity of drug possession and theft to a mere slap on the wrist. Amid the festering addiction crisis, police departments across the state are now rendered impotent.
Boom Times for The Cartels
The utter lack of legal consequences from Prop 47 has made California a tremendous draw for addicts and dealers alike. More importantly, business is booming for the cartels across our border. According to the Courthouse News Service:
[T]he Sinaloa Cartel is the leading player in a poly-drug trade that has largely shifted south of the border. Cartels produce and distribute massive quantities of meth into the U.S. through a route that starts in Southern California, moves northwards and then hooks to the east and into the heartland.
Sadder still, most of the illicit shipments of drugs from the cartels are arriving here through legal ports of entry. According to USA Today:
Last year more than 90 percent of the drug seizures happened in the port of entry, where millions of cars drive into San Diego from Mexico every year.
Demand for illicit drugs like meth and heroin continue to skyrocket. There are now 130 overdose deaths each and every day in America. The odds of dying from an overdose are now greater than dying in a car crash.
It’s tragically ironic when proponents of Prop 47 insist it hasn’t contributed to violent crimes, particularly when the Sinaloa Cartel continues to grip California in a stranglehold of addiction. To argue that there is no possible corollary between the two is either wildly ignorant or just flat-out chicanery. ISIS learned to exploit brutality and violence from the Sinaloa Cartel. That very same cartel that now runs much of the underworld here in California and across the country.
As is often the case in times of such crises, progressives demand we open up the coffers in an attempt to bury the issues beneath the proverbial billion-dollar rug. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti recently introduced the Ending Homelessness Act – yet another bit of tired legislation that refuses to address many of the actual issues involved in the crisis. According to Reason, the act would add an additional $13 billion to existing federal housing and homelessness programs.
Again, lost in all the rhetoric and rubrics from progressives is the addiction epidemic that continues to fester beyond control, especially among the exploding homeless population. Instead, politicians like Garcetti clamor for more housing and employment ad nauseam simply to pander to their bases and enable the crisis. Apparently, it’s just not politically expedient to address the tweaking elephant in the room.
There are no longer any meaningful consequences for openly using or dealing illicit drugs in our neighborhoods and in our streets. As a result, the homelessness issue has fomented into a full-blown addiction epidemic. For progressives to argue that the crisis is rooted in housing and jobs is nothing short of typical myopic, misguided pity toward a pressing issue here in California and — increasingly — all across America.