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Huron County should focus drug enforcement efforts on fentanyl

• Jan 10, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions made news when he announced his intention to rollback an Obama administration rule that prevented the Justice Department from pursuing criminal action against people who use and sell marijuana.

Meanwhile, 53 people a day in the U.S. die from poisoning from fentanyl and similar compounds — the leading killers in the opioid epidemic. 

If you recall, President Trump recently declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. It is certainly a state and local emergency as well.

So why, with limited federal enforcement resources available, would Sessions choose to do such a thing? His defenders claim that Sessions’ opinion is that the use of any kind of drug does not make America stronger. While that may well be true, it doesn’t justify the diversion of any resources from efforts to stop Americans from dying at record levels from opioids and fentanyl.

While on the subject, we need to give a special shout out to Ohio Sen. Rob Portman who is leading an effort to to try to address the opioid abuse/death issue.

Most of the fentanyl that kills Americans, Ohioans, and Huron County residents, enters the country by mail from China. Federal efforts to get control of this easy access — it can be ordered on the Internet — have been limited and ineffectual.

Portman is leading a bipartisan coalition of some 30 senators and 250 house members to pressure the post office to do more to stop or at least limit these overseas shipments. The technology exists for the Postal Service to crack down, but it has yet to move effectively.

Doing this won’t come cheap — about $4.8 billion over 10 years — according to postal authorities. Nobody is saying it will be easy; nothing about the scourge of opioids is, it seems, apart from getting access to the deadly drugs.

As USA Today notes, drug overdose deaths now outpace those from auto accidents or guns, which had long been the leading cause of accidental deaths. American life expectancies are falling because of it. It’s mind-boggling  that the federal government should deploy resources to any “drug” issue beyond opioids and fentanyl.

Americans stoned on marijuana certainly do not make America stronger; but we can’t help but think they have the potential to contribute more to society than dead Americans.

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