10/09/07 — Stomping drugs: Tough, not weak. Insistent, not just compassionate.

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Stomping drugs: Tough, not weak. Insistent, not just compassionate.

One of the most striking facts about the drug enforcement business is how it just never seems to get better. No matter how many violators local law enforcement officers seem to arrest, there are always a couple dozen more just waiting in the wings.

So, one would sort of understand if those who risk their lives every day to put away these criminals might get more than a little discouraged when they see them get off later in court — or right back in jail after only a few months.

We can show thousands of commercials citing the dangers of drug use. We can show thousands of stories about families destroyed by addiction. We can continue to add services to take care of the children who are born to drug-addicted parents.

Those steps might save a few, but if we really want to address the issue head-on, we have to have something more powerful, more of a stick.

In a word, consequences.

Jails are clogged with drug offenders — usually on low-level charges. The big-time dealers, they get away much of the time. They are smarter, on average, and know how to use the system.

Putting drug dealers out of business takes a concerted effort to make doing business more difficult. And that effort starts in every neighborhood in this county. If neighbors are not afraid to stand up and say no, and to turn in those who are breaking the law, the message gets out — move.

And then it is government’s turn. More money put into enforcement as well as stiffer mandatory sentences for the worst offenders will reinforce the message — as will strict penalties for those who transport drugs into this country in any shape or form — the first time.

It won’t happen in a day, but ridding this community of the scourge of drugs will take determination and a really big stick. They have to know we mean it.

Published in Editorials on October 9, 2007 11:18 AM