Editorial: Same old drug policy? Good grief | TribLIVE.com
Editorials

Editorial: Same old drug policy? Good grief

1407214_web1_Fentanyl
State police in Greensburg seized 3 pounds, 6 ounces of straight fentanyl Monday from two New York men during a traffic stop along the turnpike in Mt. Pleasant Township on Monday, July 8, 2019.

Charlie Brown is a cookie-cutter drug czar.

The round-headed kid with earnest intentions and a fervent desire to just do the right thing would want to stop dangerous drugs from flooding the streets. He would want to save people from the downward spiral of addiction. He would do everything he was supposed to do.

And none of it would work.

He would fight cocaine and it would turn into crack, chewing up all his hard work like a kite-eating tree. He would run headlong at the criminal side of the problem, only to have progress snatched away like a football at the last minute, leaving him dazed on his back.

He could plan the perfect program, a pageant orchestrated to hit every mark and check every box, but factions arguing about what was most important would leave it in chaos.

But just like our approach to drug issues — which often seems to ignore the advice of people who deal with addiction in favor of people who deal with politics — he wouldn’t give up.

In fact, he would try it all again. Exactly the same way. Surely the tree won’t eat the kite again. Lucy won’t pull the football away this time. Fentanyl will be easier to stop than heroin was, or meth, or crack, or powder cocaine.

Except it won’t. And that’s why Charlie Brown is the poster child for drug policy.

For decades, we have blithely treated public policy on drugs exactly the way we advise addicts not to address their problems. Instead of creating new patterns and trying new solutions, we hurl ourselves headlong into exactly what didn’t work last time, confident that this time we can make it work.

But this time it seems more important than ever to find a new way. Fentanyl is more than just the new kid on the block. It is a terrorist, a suicide bomber. Fentanyl is cheap and deadly and finds its way into other drugs. It cannot be waited out. It isn’t a phase that will pass.

And it is growing. The state police seized the largest cache of fentanyl in Western Pennsylvania history just last week.

It was 3 pounds, 6 ounces. There are thousands of doses in each ounce. An overdose is easy. Even accidental, incidental exposure can kill.

We need more than what we’ve tried over and over, because that doesn’t stand a chance. And if that’s all we keep throwing at fentanyl? Good grief.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.