U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently spoke in a video on the Justice Department’s website regarding the heroin and prescription painkiller problem in America. He mentioned that the DEA has opened up over 4,500 heroin-related cases since 2011, but also admitted that law enforcement alone isn’t enough.
Holder stated, It’s clear that opiate addiction is an urgent — and growing — public health crisis,” and that more attention should be placed on treatment as well. Despite his acknowledgement of that fact, the Justice Dept. must still justify their budget and spend ridiculously unnecessary amounts of money on the law enforcement side of the drug problem.
Should violent drug traffickers be stopped? Yes, of course, but there are still many millions of dollars wasted on fighting drug supply chains when they would be more effective being used to increase the number of treatment beds and to fund more education and prevention programs. If the demand isn’t cut, then someone will always find a way to supply it, regardless of the law enforcement efforts. A primary example in this case is that more people are currently dying in America from prescription opiates than from heroin.
While his statements seem more reactionary than proactive, there were some that definitely seem good, including urging wider availability and use of naloxone, which can prevent opiate overdose deaths. Hopefully his statements will help spread the message about treatment and prevention to more law enforcement officials throughout the country.
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