Anyone who travels knows the conversation. It begins after getting off a plane.

Uber driver: “So, where are you from?”

Passenger: “Colorado.”

“Oh, the drug state,” the driver says, giggling.

Wear it with pride. Take comfort in the opening lyrics of Copper Chief’s hit song “Snakeskin Boots.”

“This here’s a song about methamphetamine and killing people,” says lead singer Mike Valliere in a song about his hometown.

“At one point we were the number three methamphetamine county in the entire state. I guess you gotta be proud of something.”

Colorado’s druggie brand came when voters made it the first state to legalize “recreational” marijuana. The Legislature strengthened the image in 2019 by decriminalizing Schedule 1 and 2 narcotics, including black tar heroin, crack cocaine, meth, fentanyl and more.

Shortly after decriminalizing highly dangerous and deadly drugs, death ensued. Something must be done, as legislators explain in House Bill 23-1202.

“Overdose deaths in Colorado have skyrocketed in recent years, increasing by 38% from 2019 to 2020,” the bill says.

Strange. Decriminalize drugs and overdoses soar. What a confounding coincidence!

Colorado’s cool-hipster druggie image attracts dealers and users alike. State law shields dealers who kill their customers, so long as they call for help and try to save the victim. If they follow that protocol, the law calls them “good Samaritans.”

Colorado might as well recruit drug dealers and call it “economic development.”

Do not despair. Pro-drug legislators want to address the overdose crisis. Not with treatment and obstacles to drug abuse and distribution. Quite the contrary. Sponsors of HB 1202 — a who’s who of far-left Democrats — want cities and towns to welcome drug users to government-approved drug-injection sites.

The bill would empower local governments to authorize drug houses that supply heroin needles and other “sterile consumption equipment.” Any drug user could bring any drug into an “overdose prevention center” and get loaded while “trained staff” support them.

Advocates say the proposed law is essential “for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety.”

The invitation to use dangerous drugs in a “safe” environment would encourage experimentation. People who typically avoid illicit drug use, fearing the dangers, would quickly develop dependencies in the new “safe” and inviting drug houses. The addictions would follow the users, who would not always have access to a “safe” injection site.

Each drug house would be a gift to dealers, big and small. As seen with drug sites in Canada and Australia, dealers would prey on addicts with no concern for those who buy and overdose at home. Dealers concentrated near drug houses offer drugs to anyone who walks by — including young children.

With each move to normalize drug abuse, Colorado gets more of it. We get more deaths, more grieving survivors and more ruined lives.

Politicians who genuinely care for addicts should fund and encourage medication-assisted treatment, which former Surgeon General Jerome Adams called the “gold standard for treating opioid addiction.” They should encourage, fund and facilitate more intervention in homes, schools and places of employment.

Drug addiction is an illness. State and local governments should facilitate professional treatment, not supervised abuse that ends in death.

The Gazette Editorial Board

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