The opioid war: Nothing less than a fight for our future

A bad batch of heroin is not the same as a bad batch of celery.

There was proof of that this week, when what police called a bad batch of heroin led to dozens of people overdosing.

Meanwhile, a man was being arraigned for selling 80 bags of suspected heroin for $580 on June 15 to an undercover state police officer while caring for three children ranging from age 1 to 8.

The messages are clear: Heroin is cheap. It is plentiful. It is lethal. It is available in our area.

And it kills. And if it doesn’t kill, it creates an aimless existence for people and hardships for everyone around them.

Much has been done to fight the opioid epidemic in our region in recent years. And the efforts have clearly led to some heartening successes.

But as Wednesday’s depressing tales show, this is a long-term war that we, as a region, are a long way from winning.

The supplies need to be cut off and the market for those supplies needs to shrink. Cutting off the supply is a daunting enforcement task for police and shrinking the market means fewer people getting addicted.

None of this is easy. None of the solutions are simple. The dealer arraigned Wednesday listed Dunnstown and Philadelphia addresses, illustrating that this area is a market for those from outside our region preying on a willing consumer base.

Continuation of the opioid epidemic can do long-term damage to our region. Drug addiction and illegal drug trafficking strain our health and social services system, our court system and our law enforcement and penal personnel.

So we can’t just wave the white flag and surrender to this evil. Each of us, in whatever way we can, has to fight the opioid epidemic and recognize it is a problem that affects all of us in one way or another.

The best fight starts with kids of all cultures and economic backgrounds getting an early education that opioids will ruin their lives. They need to not travel down a path that leads to a sure-fire dead end. And the fight needs to be augmented by tough sentencings on the sellers. They obviously have no respect for human life, so there’s no need to wring our hands debating leniency.

We are in a war over the future quality of life in our region.