Viewpoint: The verdict is in -- Goodhue County needs drug court
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of viewpoints about the heroin and opioid crisis sweeping local communities. Read the first one here.
Every drug investigation needs to answer the questions: Who, what, where and why. "But why?" is the hardest question.
Why is why we need a drug court in Goodhue County.
It's pretty easy to understand how people get addicted. After all, people rarely fall into a trap that they can't get out of unless it was set for them.
One reason why people get addicted is because pushers and dealers are the real criminals for stealing any kind of normal lives from their victims. Why people become addicted is the question we need to answer to help start the recovery of real people with real problems that got out of control.
Drug court is one way to save some people from falling completely out of the grasp of society, employment and loved ones. It is the one bright spot in addiction: recovery.
Drug court sentences people to facing their demons out in the public with constant support and drug testing. It is not foolproof, but it is hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.
It was a terrible blow to this community that after all the work of Judge Doug Bayley and the county staff, that Goodhue County didn't receive the $400,000 grant to set up the Drug Court program for three years. If this seems like a large expense, consider the cost of jailing addicts, removing children from their families and making employment almost impossible. Drug court is a last resort from jail and in many ways, the last chance to hang onto a life.
The overwhelming power of narcotics means people who are brought back to life by Narcan after an overdose often complain of having the best buzz of their life ruined by the return to life itself. These are truly dangerous poisons that we need to get off the streets of Red Wing and Goodhue County.
Needles and pills just didn't happen here, they came here for a reason. That reason is profit.
While it is not a crime to be an addict. It is a crime to sell people into slavery. What we can do about that is to demand that government starts to address the root causes of addiction and also starts to turn the corner on education, employment, and inclusion into our community.
If you believe in freedom of choice, believe me that the only choice junkies have is to get their next fix. They can't fix that, we have to help.