Help, don’t punish
The article describing the increase of heroin-overdose deaths draws a logical conclusion about the policies of our federal and state governments [“Heroin use spikes in under-30 age group,” page one, June 12]. By removing controlled dosages of prescriptions we have driven people to the street.
In 2000, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute presented the conference “Preventing Heroin Overdose.” It highlighted work done in Western Europe and Canada to resolve this problem. The United States has gone backward.
The most knowledgeable countries removed drug use and addiction from the legal system and placed it into the public-health system, thereby working on solutions instead of punishment and retribution.
Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and other countries have come close to eliminating deaths from heroin by utilizing education, methods of assistance, safe-injection rooms, treatment availability, available naloxone, and most important, no more threats of arrest and prison or jail. They have dramatically reduced their medical-care costs related to drug use, mainly heroin.
It’s time for United States to move forward. Washington should lead the way. We have the knowledge and resources available.
Vicki Decker, Bothell