The title of this article is a quote from Lt. Leslie Mills of the Washington State Department Of Corrections. The video is a clip from a film that aired on February 23rd on PBS.
In this short clip from the film you can see what one city, Seattle, is trying in order to battle the opioid and heroin crisis that is decimating our country. In the past, the answer to the heroin problem was to lock up all the addicts. Then, after a short time in jail, they detox and are returned to the streets. There was no treatment and no alternatives. Then you see them start using again and end up in the same jail…doomed to repeat the process over again. It is almost like the directions on a shampoo bottle: “lather, rinse, repeat”.
What police in Seattle are becoming are social workers. Their number one goal is not to find the addicts and throw them in jail. You see in the clip when the officer pulls up to two people shooting heroin and offer help. Real help. They only wanted to find out who the people were and then start the process of getting them an answer that could help them in their fight with addiction.
Lt. Mills is correct in saying that we can’t arrest our way out of this epidemic. The war on drugs was lost a very long time ago. Mainly because the right people were not put on the front lines to combat this deadly disease called addiction. It is time for other jurisdictions to follow suit and start helping rather than allowing the addicts that are suffering to continue just spinning their wheels.