Treating the heroin problem as though it were a pest, a snake in our garden and closing down the pill mills. So they cut the snake's head off. Turned their backs, wiped their hands and decided it was a job well done.
Turns out that snake was a Hydra. The problem wasn't even close to solved and in fact further ignored.
Those who had the resources to help still possess the outdated thought that "junkies" are criminals and should be treated as such. Punish them and they will be too scared to do their junk.
If you've ever been an addict or through some kind a program, you know that addicts are powerless to their monsters and demons, i.e. drugs and/or alcohol. They aren't scared of being punished, they're scared of withdrawals and whatever it is they were escaping in the first place that drove them to use.
This is a disease! Do we cut the heads off of people who are sick? No! We treat them. We don't punish people with lupus or asthma. This is a disease that will never go away.
They require treatment for life. These people, once we help them, will still live the rest of their lives one day at a time. It's bleak, I know.
But it's less bleak if we don't meet former "junkies" with disdain or contempt but with support, empathy and love. In fact, wouldn't it be exciting for them to know that is what they had to look forward to by getting help?
So it's time to make a change. Starting with our treatment of those who need help. Let's look upon those who have the resources to help but choose not to with disdain and contempt. Because they're really the ones who caused this problem.