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El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson is outraged to learn that the state of California has decided to sue the county in order to impose needle exchange programs and other so-called “harm reduction strategies” that have proven to cause more harm than good everywhere they have been tried.

“This is disastrously dangerous, and I am furious at our state leaders,” said Pierson. “Don’t come into our county and double down on your failed policy. Allowing addicts to use fentanyl and other hardcore drugs is exactly what has caused other California counties to experience a death rate that is out of control and getting worse.”

County officials have not yet been served with the lawsuit but have learned from reporters that the state plans to file a lawsuit against the County’s new syringe exchange prohibition ordinance, Ordinance 5189, which prohibits the establishment and operation of syringe exchange programs in unincorporated parts of the county. DA Pierson helped write that ordinance.

“This road to hell via good intentions has been paved over the past several years by California’s governor and his administration’s insistence on normalizing hard-core drug use,” Pierson said. “The consequence has been increased overdose deaths, drug addiction, homelessness, and rampant property crime. We have tried to chart a safer course, but now the governor and attorney general are suing El Dorado County seeking to impose the normalization of hardcore drug use.”

As Pierson mentioned in a recent opinion column written with U.S. Rep. Kevin Kiley, the state of California is still reeling from the dark consequences of Proposition 47, which has led to a surge in overdose deaths throughout the state. In 2021 alone, there were 10,898 drug related overdoses in California, 7,175 of which were opioid related. In Sacramento, California’s capital city, deaths among the homeless have nearly tripled in the last decade, with nearly half attributable to drug use. Prop. 47 made hard drugs cheap and accessible, without any incentive or requirement for treatment.

California’s governor and his administration are behind the times. Oregon’s progressive governor is about to sign a bill into law that would recriminalize fentanyl and other hard drugs, imposing treatment for certain users. Meanwhile, the mayors of some of California’s most progressive cities including San Francisco, Santa Monica and Santa Clara have recognized current policies have failed and lead to more addiction and death. Those mayors have announced their support for a November initiative called the Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act that imposes stronger drug penalties for drug offenses.

“This lawsuit is madness,” Pierson said. “I will fight against it tooth and nail because the citizens of this county deserve policies that will keep them as safe as possible.”