In July of 2015 heroin overdoses here in Sarasota and the Bradenton area have exploded. AS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN SARASOTA AND BRADENTON WHO HANDLES HEROIN AND OPIATE RELATED ARRESTS I KNOW THAT THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN. Two years ago, I predicted that with the crackdown on pills like Oxycontin and Percocet, the people who were addicted would find a substitute. A person addicted to an opiate has a treatable illness. Often the addiction was unintended and resulted from months of treatment with pain killers for real injuries or accidents.
Sadly, law enforcement and the legislature simply do not understand that criminalization and incarceration is not the answer. Addiction is a medical problem and a health problem. Education, treatment and compassion for those addicted is the only sensible approach.
It should not be a crime
Would we have the big cartels, the murders, the robberies and burglaries if drugs were legalized? In America nothing was learned from the prohibition era. Making alcohol illegal was the birth or organized crime. As long as drugs are illegal, the incentive to produce them, to get people addicted and to sell them exists. Think about this. How many collateral crimes are committed by addicts to support their habit? How many burglaries? How many thefts? How many robberies? How many homicides are drug related? Would the gangs be there if drugs were legal? At the core of the drug problem is money.
I am not some bleeding heart liberal. As a former Federal Agent, former Federal prosecutor and drug crime lawyer, I have seen it from both sides. The “war on drugs” will never be won. The answer has to be a change in the laws and the funding of drug prevention and treatment. The “war on Marijuana” beginning in the seventies and eighties created the cartels. Cracking down on pot fueled the Cocaine explosion. Cracking down of pills fueled the heroin explosion.
Addicts need help, not jail
America is number one in drug addiction and people in prison
The legalization of marijuana is the first step
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