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Keystone viewpoint: Dealing in death

| Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, 9:00 p.m.

As the opioid-overdose death toll continues its remorseless climb, a new statistic is rising up to answer it — the growing number of those arrested on charges of doling out the drugs that caused the deaths.

North East District Judge Scott Hammer arraigned Janell N. Terry, 40, on charges that she delivered drugs that caused the suspected overdose death of a 38-year-old woman. Terry is now the sixth person in the region since August to be charged with delivering drugs that resulted in an overdose.

Records show police are using cellphone and social media exchanges, along with witnesses, to tie dealers to lethal doses. These cases represent an aggressive new approach to the criminal justice piece of the opioid epidemic. Family members of overdose victims have long pressed for more arrests of drug dealers who, in their eyes, killed their loved ones.

Given the scale of this problem, fatal overdoses should not be treated as simply medical emergencies.

No single strategy will stop the opioid crisis. It is fueled both by addiction and crime, and must be battled as such.

— Erie Times-News

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