We all know we have a drug problem in Greene. We’re not alone, most of the country does.
And we know we’re not winning this ‘war on drugs.’ We never will. You don’t ‘win’ a war on addiction; it’s a disease. You control it and its effects on people and communities.
If you’re an addict, you’re a victim and you need help. If you’re a pusher, you’re a criminal and you need jail. Our laws treat addiction and pushing as crimes and lump these two groups together.
So, we fill our jails with our young people, ruining their lives with felony convictions for possession or use. If they get any help at all, they’re lucky. Pushers often get an easier time. They become informants in return for a much-reduced sentence.
We could be a lot smarter in how we enforce the laws regarding drugs.
Matthew Hardin, our commonwealth’s attorney up for reelection in November, wants to set up a drug court. He also wants to stop the revolving door of pusher-informants getting light sentences and returning to the streets, plying their trade. These are really good ideas.
A drug court peels off drug cases from our circuit court. It has the time to consider cases individually, instead of the present plea deal system that hurts people without lots of money for lawyers. A drug court will transform prospects for our young victims, steering them to help instead of jail. It will encourage the strengthening of organizations and programs to help victims. And it can get really tough with pusher-informants. These are all good things, and a huge improvement for our many victims.
Seattle, WA and other cities have proven these ideas work.
Hardin wants smart enforcement of our drug laws, which is help for victims, jail for pushers, and a drug court to help make it possible. This is creative thinking. We need more of that. We ought to support a drug court and we ought to re-elect Hardin in November.