5 Replies to “A Day Care Death and the Dilemma Over How to Crack Down on Drugs – The New York Times”

  1. Should we decriminalize drugs if this is the result? As I read this article, I do not think it is even a question to not criminalize extremely addicting drugs. This has been a very serious problem, especially with the new wave of fentanyl overdoses. As said in the article, there have been 3200 fentanyl induced deaths in the last year. A one year old died from fentanyl exposure at a DAYCARE. Obviously it is an extremely serious problem. It is so bad to the point where used needles are laying on sidewalks, people are actively using them on the street, and etc. People that are clearly high or caught using, need to be jailed, and sobered up.

  2. I understand your concern but I wanted to offer a different perspective on the matter. it’s important to acknowledge that addiction is a complex health issue rather than simply a criminal behavior. Treating addiction as a criminal offense often exacerbates the problem rather than resolving it. Incarceration can lead to a cycle of relapse and re-offending, as individuals may not receive the necessary treatment and support to address the root causes of their addiction. Jailing individuals with addiction issues can also have significant social and economic costs. The funds used to incarcerate these individuals could be better spent on rehabilitation and harm reduction programs, which have been shown to be more effective in reducing drug-related problems. Regarding decriminalization, it’s essential to understand that decriminalizing drugs does not mean endorsing drug use. Instead, it involves shifting the focus from punitive measures to a more public health-oriented approach. By decriminalizing drugs, individuals caught with small quantities for personal use may be referred to treatment and support programs rather than being sent to jail. This approach has been successfully implemented in several countries and has resulted in reduced drug-related harm and improved health outcomes. The argument that drug decriminalization would worsen the problem is not necessarily supported by evidence. In Portugal, for example, where drug decriminalization was implemented in 2001, there has been a decrease in drug-related deaths and HIV infection rates. It’s important to consider the potential benefits of such a policy shift. If drug use is a consistently worsening issue while drugs are still criminalized, the issue is not the criminalization itself but in the rehabilitation and the fight against addiction. This is an incredibly difficult issue and while there will, no doubt, be many tragedies, it may be time to look at the potential changes that need to be implemented.

    1. Hi Reagan! I had to play devil’s advocate, specifically in response to your mention of Portugal. Yes, Portugal implemented decriminalization of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. However, it is nationwide news that this is not working. An article from the Washington Post shows the recent statistics, showing after the decriminalization there is a rise in people who use drugs. Specifically, overdose has doubled in Lisbon from just 2019 to 2023, crime has increased by 14%, and the collection of drug related debris on the streets has gone up 24% in just a year. Drug paraphernalia now scatters the street with needles, packets of citric acid for diluting heroin, and syringe caps, right outside of elementary schools. The consequences of using drugs in Portugal is a small fine and recommended treatment, all state funded. In theory, the rehabilitation centers would work, but they are all voluntary. The hardest thing to do is put a drug addict in rehab when they cannot be forced, especially because since doing cocaine and heroin is completely legal, they can shoot up and get high on the street if they so choose, with little to no consequences. In response to your comment on implementing recourses, Portugal has spent $82.7 million on their rehabilitation centers and drug programs, which are free of charge for their people. However, police officers in Portugal are less motivated to take in people who use drugs, and put them on their year long waitlist to get into rehabs. They have also explained that yes, they can register people, but they just see these people back on the streets getting high.

  3. Raegan, wow what an excellent and insightful response. I couldn’t agree more with what you said and agree that it is a waste of resources and human potential to criminalize rather than treat drug addiction. There is a lot of public support for the decriminalization of many drugs and it will be interesting to see if this will become a reality. However, due to extreme monetary interests, I am doubtful that we will see any meaningful decriminalization in our lifetimes.

  4. Fentanyl is a huge problem in our society but how could we keep this from happening? For a couple of years now the fentanyl crisis has been on the rise. But no one has found any good methods to combat it. Non Criminalizing small amounts of drugs such as fentanyl, as seen in an article a few weeks ago, didn’t do much to lower drug use. Arresting people using or selling fentanyl won’t change anything either as seen by the countless arrests already made. Something bigger than decriminalizing and arrests has to be done. Treatment centers and other public services must be implemented to show even a little bit of change with fentanyl. Something needs to happen otherwise more people, including children, will continue to die from it.

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