For years, state and national leaders have struggled to find ways to stem the deadly opioid epidemic. A change in tactics is now placing greater emphasis on those who seek to profit from the addiction of others.
As the New Haven Register told us recently, the site of a suspected drug overdose is now considered a crime scene. More than 80 people believed to have sold drugs to victims of overdoses have been arrested on federal charges since February 2016, as a result of an initiative started by the U.S. attorney’s office.
U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said she does not believe her office can “arrest the state” out of the opioid crisis, and there has been a big push by her office for educational outreach in schools to bring the message about the dangers of prescription opioids and heroin to students and their parents.
That said, suppliers play an important role in the spread of this epidemic, and law enforcement is now concentrating on moving “up the chain.”That means targeting not just street dealers but also prosecuting those who supply the dealers.
We recognize that they may not be the original cause of the addiction, but they capitalize on victims’ weaknesses and even callously mix in potentially deadly substances - like fentanyl - to tighten their hold on the addict.
It would be naïve to say that if we could stop the dealers, we could stop the epidemic, but if we could reduce the cynical role they play, perhaps more addicts would turn to those who could treat - not feed - their addiction. That means we have to have the resources available for them to turn to - but that’s another issue.