Dec 7, 2014

Heroin W.M.D.

Heroin is not that complicated. It’s a weapon of war, part of an invasion that delivers a plague.

Our mission is relatively simple: Repel the invader. Save the people.

Anything else plays into the enemy’s hands.

The drug cartels are clever and heartless. They exploit our vulnerabilities, and make us complicit in our own destruction. They use people with economic vulnerabilities to sell drugs to people with health vulnerabilities. When we jail our own children, it produces more business for our enemies.

“Friend or foe?” and “What can I do to help you?” are key questions. They help us stop the damage.

The neighbor kid with the needle in his arm passed out on the floor is not the enemy. The kid on the street corner with packets of drugs in his pocket is not the enemy. Both are pawns, people who've been hijacked by the invader. It's better to protect them. They both need a path from drugs, a way to return to us. One needs treatment The other needs a real job.

Sure, both are technically criminals. Big deal. People can change under the right conditions. We know how to help, and we know prisons and jails waste people. With heroin, we are facing an invasion. The larger goal is more important. We can’t afford to overlook opportunities to save vulnerable people.

Smart legislation, smart court rules, smart diversion programming, smart discretion at time of arrest, smart bail policies, smart probation services all save people. They are investments that lower the body count. And they limit collateral damage -- the families and communities who suffer too. Besides, people who overcome challenges become more resilient. When people reach their ultimate potential, our society wins.

If we become become smart about criminal justice, recovery becomes our counterattack. Given what we are facing, smart justice may well be the key to victory.

Join me 9 am - noon on Saturday December 13 at the PIER in Newport KY for "A Course About Solutions." It's a 3-hour class about heroin and public policy.

Learn more at

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