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The opioid epidemic has hit society like a ton of bricks. According to an article in The New York Times published back in June, death caused by drug overdose rose 19 percent in 2016 over the 52,404 deaths recorded in 2015. As of press time, the drug overdose death toll for 2017 hasn’t been recorded yet. That number figures to increase from the 2016 total.
There are also stories of parents in opiate induced stupors leaving their young children unattended. It should be reasoned that these children have no comprehension of the potential danger they could be in, considering that many of them are toddlers. This is the kind of predicament that should sicken anyone with a soul.
Mainstream American media has taken a sympathetic approach, choosing not to demonize these opioid abusers (including the illegal drug heroin) as drug addicts. Law enforcement agencies across America have taken to providing Narcan, a brand name for the drug naxolone, in their efforts to reverse the opioid overdoses. President Donald Trump has offered a solution of his own to combat the epidemic that has ruined many families. None of these actions can lead to a solution because it’s missing one key factor: harsh incarceration as a deterrent to the opioid epidemic.
By definition, It’s hard to imagine that many opioid abusers are taking the proper dosage of what is presumed to be medicine prescribed for them specifically. If they doubled or tripled the dosage of their specific drug, there’s no way they could get a prescription for more that soon. That’s because a doctor possessing a true moral compass, and who took their Hippocratic oath seriously, wouldn’t prescribe an increased dosage so soon. Harmful effects could occur, and said doctor surely wouldn’t want something like that on their conscience. At that point, the patient would take to nefarious means to get their medicine like theft, or even physical violence. This is where there should be legal ramifications.
Instead, there are some opinions that advocate taking the high road in regards to punishing opioid abusers. This stance is dangerous because if the afflicted person can’t, or won’t get the treatment they need, the only alternative is death. The prison industrial complex remains a profitable American entity. It would behoove prosecuting attorneys across America to push for maximum mandatory sentences for opioid abusers. Because hurt feelings of the afflicted and their families are
temporary. The aforementioned result of death is permanent.