I an only somewhat heartened to see this epidemic getting some front page attention in the New York Times due to the Vermont governor's speech:
What's missing? An effort to attack the root cause of this epidemic, which is the multi-billion dollar business of pharmaceutical grade heroin variants in the form of Oxycontin, Roxycontin, Fentanyl and other prescription pain medications flooding the country. And the scumbags who wear suits to work and market these drugs know exactly what they are putting out there. Their pills are the gateway to heroin addiction. Millions who would never consider sticking a needle in their arm are all too willing to pop a pill. How bad could it be? Within months they're shooting up dope.“In every corner of our state, heroin and opiate drug addiction threatens us,” he said. He said he wanted to reframe the public debate to encourage officials to respond to addiction as a chronic disease, with treatment and support, rather than with only punishment and incarceration.“The time has come for us to stop quietly averting our eyes from the growing heroin addiction in our front yards,” Governor Shumlin said, “while we fear and fight treatment facilities in our backyards.”Last year, he said, nearly twice as many people here died from heroin overdoses as the year before. Since 2000, Vermont has seen an increase of more than 770 percent in treatment for opiate addictions, up to 4,300 people in 2012.
Our "war on drugs" is a joke. We prosecute people for marijuana possession while the executives of Purdue and other pharmaceutical manufacturers and marketers have gotten rich turning millions into heroin addicts while never serving a day in prison. This is an issue that has affected me personally, and it enrages me that not a single pharmaceutical company has been held accountable, nor have clearly necessary and appropriate policy changes been implemented.
Show me a governor or better yet a President who is willing to take on the root cause of this mess.