Drug dealers not entirely to blame

As a former Baltimore City police officer, I am keenly aware of the dangers and effects of heroin use, including addiction, users’ deteriorated physical condition, deviant, violent, and criminal behavior, destroyed families, etc. The battleground in the unwinnable “War on Drugs” is fraught with danger, misallocation of resources, and legal abuses. While we strive to break the links between users and dealers, it is myopic to suggest that drug dealers are the source of the problem; if only it the “fix” was that easy. To blame the “Philly” dealers which seems to be a recurring theme among those struggling to solve the county’s drug woes demonstrates tunnel vision and intellectual laziness. Rather, dealers are simply an easy target and one part of the demand-and-supply equation.

Of the thousands of calls-for-service I’ve responded to as a police officer, a “user/victim” never alleged that a dealer forcibly coerced or threatened them to purchase their product. Conversely, your article “Heroin abuse is an everyday problem locally” reinforced the notion that the deliberate and calculated decision to seek out, purchase, and use heroin is purely an act of free will. Blame social status, unemployment, poverty, family problems, and any and all circumstances; users rarely take personal responsibility for their bad choices. Users create demand for a market to which suppliers respond. Certainly, arrest the dealers, but also lay blame on the unending flow of users who knowingly seek out their next high. Until demand for product ceases, the supply market will continue, as will Lycoming County’s drug-related problems.

David Bjorkman


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom