The opioid epidemic is all around us with 47,000 deaths in 2017 tied to opioid-related deaths. Whether it is hardscrabble areas that are economically depressed, affluent suburbs with ritzy country clubs or college campuses like IU, drug addiction has wrecked the lives of many.
Preying on the addicted
There is a movement afoot to hold the drug dealers accountable for those customers who overdose on drugs like fentanyl. From 2011 to 2016, it is estimated that drug-induced homicides increased from 363 to 1,178 in the United States. In one respect, this makes sense – after all, they put means of death into the hands of the victims. The thinking is that these dealers are taking advantage of those who have an addiction problem, which is a particularly egregious offense in their eyes.
Abuse comes in many forms
Before we lock in the dealers and throw away the key, however, it is worth thinking about treating the illness rather than the enablers. “Supply-side tactics really haven’t been proven to work over the past five decades they’ve been implemented,” said Lindsay LaSalle, director of public health law and policy for the Drug Policy Alliance, in a story by the Associated Press. “I think the focus needs to be on the demand.”
Protecting the rights of all individuals
People accused of selling drugs are still innocent until proven guilty in a court of law or admit to the crime. It has also been proven repeatedly that stringent penalties are not a deterrent (as the new First Step Act advocates). Those facing drug charges involving dealing, opioids or other issues are advised to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Emotions can run high in these cases, and a steady knowledgeable defense can ensure that a person’s rights are protected.