The following is a letter to the editor from the January 2, 2018 edition of CarolinaCoastOnline
Morehead City, N.C.
Jan. 2, 2018
TO THE EDITOR:
We have a drug problem in America. The statistics are astounding. According to Common Sense for Drug Policy, there were 63,600 drug overdose deaths in 2016. The Vietnam War saw approximately 53,800 of our best and brightest die over a 20-year period. This cost in national treasure caused massive protests that turned violent on occasion which cost us more of our best and brightest when four students from Kent State University were killed by National Guard troops. There are likely several causes for our ills. Where is the widespread outrage?
Are we a pill dependent society? Do we take drugs for anything and everything promoted by big pharmaceutical companies? In addition to the infomercials, look at the industry spending on regular television programming touting medication to cure conditions that you once thought were normal. It appears we all need pills for something. Are we being duped? Are we teaching our children by example to demand the instant fix for any condition “as seen on television”? Are we over prescribing medications?
As reported by the News-Times Dec. 31, 2017, the Morehead City Police Department had to buy an ELASTEC Drug Terminator to dispose of between 20 and 50 pounds of unused or unwanted medications every month. Using 35 pounds as an average, that is a lot of pills.
I take three medications with an average dosage of 200 mg. Using 200 mg as an average, approximately 79,380 dosage units of unused or unwanted medications are prescribed very month. Maybe the pharmaceutical companies, drug stores or doctors should refund the cost of the Elastec Drug Terminator to our police department.
One thing we should consider is contacting the N.C. Industrial Commission in support of their proposal to limit opioid prescriptions for injured workers. In that light, contact your local state legislators and demand they aggressively address opioid limits. Finally, contact your U.S. senator and representative and demand border security to slow the flow of opioids.
We also need to better support our local law enforcement to stop the sale and distribution of illegal drugs. Operation Spotlight and other law enforcement operations have netted a plethora of suspects. These operations are dangerous and costly. The users or sellers are known to the community. Are we aiding and abetting the suspects by remaining silent?
It is not only drug offenses. Back in the 1990 timeframe, I sat in on a number of sessions in the superior court of Wake County trying to determine which felony cases were drug related. I was not looking for a statistically valid number. I just wanted an informed guess. I determined that almost 80% of all crimes in the court sessions I attended were drug related. While the majority of the crimes were drug offenses, they included assaults and homicides to steal substances or protect a corner.
Larcenies, burglaries, obtaining property false pretenses and other property crimes were committed to obtain money to purchase the drugs. There were also assaults and homicides driven by the use of drugs, most notably domestic assaults.
Why do we allow our children to get involved with these activities? If we add up the costs involved with the lost treasure, we could probably send every kid to college or technical school, feed them three squares meals a day and provide them a warm place to sleep. Are we not involved, not equipped, too busy or poor role models?
I, like most people, do not have the answers. Neither does any specific political ideology. However, with every Democrat, Independent, or Republican working together for the benefit of the public, we can either fix or greatly reduce the devastation of illicit drugs on our kids.
Why are we, as a people, seemingly do disinterested in the lives of our kids today that we sit by as nothing really changes?
JAMES W. CARTER