By Janice Barlow
For several decades now, the government has been throwing billions of dollars at stopping the illegal drug problem. Now, added to that issue is the prescription drug abuse of opiates. But is this the real issue? It is a known fact that these medications are helpful to some people who use them and are not addicted to them. The outcry now seems to be the same one used for gun control: Taking away the physical product from those who do not abuse it because others are or potentially will abuse it.
One problem with that approach is that it is starting at the tail of the snake and ignoring the real issue – heroin addiction: the head of the snake. There are some very weird suggestions being bantered about as to how to approach this problem, and it seems that none of them will hit the heart of the matter- stopping the selling of this killer addictive opiate.
One suggestion was so outrageous that I had to read it over several times to make sure it wasn’t satire. In the state of Washington, the budget of Seattle actually has money set aside for a “safe injection site.” This is like a safe house where heroin addicts can go shoot up and not worry about overdosing because there would be staff on hand to make sure they could be immediately be treated should they shoot up too much heroin. Seriously.
What is even more appalling are the comments on the article from people who think this is a good idea. Sure! Let’s encourage and enable people to not only become addicted, make the transition from prescription drugs to heroin, but use heroin more because they know someone will rescue them from an overdose. This is supposed to be a money-saving venture? The logic escapes me.
President Trump’s method of fighting the opioid epidemic would rely on “really tough, really big, really great advertising“.
I think that has been tried before. And it failed bigly. Remember, “Just Say No“? Remember the fried egg commercial, “This is your brain on drugs“? Yes those worked amazingly well. *eyeroll*.
Phil Williams, a multi-talented radio personality who goes out into communities to teach children, teens, and young people about character and values, is the only one in all of America trying to reach the part of the snake that has not been touched by drugs yet, or is just starting to roll with it by using music. His music is aimed at the generations that listen to the hip hop and rap styles, and the words will sink in.
Music reaches young people in ways that advertising, pamphlets, and round table discussions do not.
Phil has produced a CD called, Jacob’s Ladder, which should soon be available on Amazon, but can be ordered directly through him.
It is well worth the $15 bucks, and the kids will really like the music. They absorb lyrics like sponges, and these are lyrics that parents and loved ones would want them to hear.
As far as the head of the snake, I have my own ideas as to how to approach this problem.
It may not sound cheap, but wow, how much money have we wasted on the drug problem over the years as we have watched it grow increasingly worse? So here is my solution.
There are basically two levels of drug dealers, and a third, the kingpin.
At the bottom level are the rookie dealers who are lured in. The drugs in question here would be illegal hard drugs: heroin, meth, cocaine. These are young folks; some are not even adults yet. These rookies need to be punished though as adults for what they have done. They need to first be rehabbed off drugs in a maximum security hospital, then sent to prison for 3-10 years with no parole, depending on the severity of the dealing. (Marijuana or prescription pills being marketed illegally would be handled under separate court rules and not addressed here).
It should not matter if it is their first offense dealing hard illegal narcotics. The head of the snake must be cut off to stop the cycle.
The next level of dealers are the ones supplying the rookie dealers or are dealers who have been involved directly for a while. These would also include repeat offender dealers who get out of a short prison stint and go back to dealing. These dealers need to be permanently taken off the street, locked up for life with no parole in a maximum security no-frills prison with no Internet access and no physical contact with visitors. It goes without saying that Kingpin dealers would fall in this category as well.
Law enforcement is sick and tired of working diligently on sting operations, taking down dealers both large and small, and seeing them walk out of the courtroom with a slap on the wrist or a minimum sentence. This needs to stop if we are ever going to get a grip on this problem.
The United States should establish prisons specifically for these drug dealers. There would be no appeals since the perps would have been convicted of dealing drugs and already lost in court with evidence against them. That alone would save millions in tax dollars. The revolving door of dealers going back on the streets would stop. The distribution cycles of drugs would eventually stop because other potential dealers would note that these losers would be in prison for life with no hope of ever getting out. That is a deterrent that most would not want to risk.
Whenever there is a battle to fight something because of a chronic crime, (drugs, murders, rapes, etc), the approach almost always enables the perpetrator (gun control, rehabilitation, treatment, therapy). It does not address the victims. We need to stop rewarding the criminals and start enforcing the laws. Creating new laws and deterrents costs very little.
Enforcing them costs virtually nothing.
Let’s cut off the head of the snake.
Lock ’em up and throw away the key.
Janice Barlow is a True Crime writer who is doing research on her next book about the affects of agent orange on Vietnam veterans and their families. Her books are on Amazon, in paperback and on Kindle.