HEROIN IN THE TRI-STATES PART ii--"DRUG OF THE MONTH"
Please forgive me but, to make sense of all this, you will probably have to go back and at least skim my November 2 posting on the history of morphine sulfate in our area.
As I mentioned earlier, the problem with being addicted to a substance, particularly a controlled substance, is not necessarily the cumulative physical effect of the substance but the undeniable and discouraging fact that one is, indeed addicted.
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A "DRUG OF THE MONTH"
There was a time when the abiding, polite society, feeling was that our sort of native "ditch weed" was relatively harmless but the exotic Mexican brown and sensamilian varieties of marijuana would surely kill all our children. It was sort of an updated version of "Reefer Madness".
Then there was the powder cocaine craze and there is no denying that that stuff is both cumulatively and occasionally immediately dangerous. But many exploited it politically.
Then in the 90s and through this century developed all of the various varieties of meth, from your basic stupid Nazi dope to the slightly more streamlined versions that are available now. And overlapping with this metamorphosis was the transition from powder cocaine to crack cocaine which was basically just another way of cutting the product. All were politicized as heralding the end of socienty as we know it.
Now, for all the reasons I laid out a few days ago, heroin is back to being noticeable and, candidly, heroin dealers and heroin users have become reckless in its use.
THE "DRUG OF THE MONTH" WILL ALWAYS BE POLITICIZED
So, what one thing do all these waves of up-and-coming drugs have in common?
Every stinking one of them was exploited by candidates running for law enforcement officers, most particularly States Attorney and Sheriff.
During one particular heated race, a former Sheriff and a few associated peace officers dashed around town grabbing a few ounces of marijuana here and there, all the while happily issuing press releases. Putting little stickers on what hey seized. Not evidence stickers, mind you. They called this foolishness "operation Octopus." They would put stickers on their meager seizures with pictures of a smiley little, octopus to show this was another crimefighting superachievement by "Operation Octopus"Of course, they used that as a basis for trying to keep a certain person in office.
The various "I fight meth" campaigns that have gone on over the last dozen years or so in our area are no different. Well, actually, I guess they are since they used a methodology designed fight a pyramidal scheme when the meth trade is actually circular, but that discussion for another day.
Folks, it is a universal truth. A certain percentage of the population is going to abuse intoxicants. A certain percentage of that percentage is going to abuse illegal intoxicants. We can't guess what the "the drug of the month" will be next election or even next year but we can rest assured, from hundreds of years of human behavior, that there will be one.
Right now we have a local race for sheriff. Both of these candidates are aware that the heroin trade has become more open and notorious and that it presents, above all else, one Hell of a public health threat. One of them goes around saying "heroin, heroin, heroin, heroin, heroin, heroin!" And trashes the other because he does not frequently use the word. That's just another form of "drug of the month campaigning" with a little cut and paste from the "islamic terrorism" gambit on the national scene.
I know it's fair to say that both of these people truly know that there is not a great deal a County Sheriff can do to abate a problem that is mostly compartmentalized in one quadrant of the city of Quincy. This is a task force and QPD problem. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out.
The other problem with campaigning against the "drug of the month" is it requires one to actually give a plan as to how that drug and/or addiction generally would be combated. We have had a silly, non-– evidence based approach to meth for at least the last 10 years, maybe more where we have never adapted the prosecution method to the delivery system. Now, heroin, which has a completely different delivery system, would require a different prosecution and a different investigative approach but Adams County drug enforcement has not changed its investigative approach, give or take a few new toys, in several dozen years so there is really no reason to think that either candidate for sheriff can make a particular impact on a problem that is, at once, national and simultaneously confined to pretty much one quadrant of our city.
Morphine sulfate tragically ruins lives. Nobody is arguing to the contrary. But the idea that the election of either of these humans to the office of Adams County Sheriff, which has, as a constant, many statutorily required duties and many other law enforcement issues to contend with, will affect the natural ebb and flow of the addictive public's selection of the "drug of the month" is a little silly. The insertion of one person or another in a police or prosecutive role has never done that and it's not likely to start now..
Heroin is bad stuff. Heck, any controlled substance abused is bad stuff. But anybody who tells you that his election will stave off trafficking in the "drug of the month" is simply flying in the face of seven or eight centuries of human behavior. It did not take the Chinese that long to figure out that there are always going to be a certain number of addicts and they are best just safely streamed the way for the population.
We hire a Sheriff to maintain a support system for a courthouse and for the orderly conduct of our courts, to serve papers and to maintain a jail. If there is any money left over, it is fine for the sheriff to do some policing but we do not hire the head of that rather large and well-funded office to go around kicking in doors, saving addicts from themselves.
Vote for whomever you will for sheriff but please, do not do so on a false premise. Stamping out the "drug of the month" is time-proven false premise.