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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

OP-ED: Build the Heroin Interdiction Wall: Now

Brian Painter. Provided. 
By Brian Painter 

Campbell County Fiscal Court rolled out our plan to control the heroin epidemic in our county in a five hour meeting last Wednesday.

This six pillar plan covers all aspects of controlling the spread of addiction to opiates from prevention to treatment. One aspect of the plan is interdiction of heroin.  Interdiction (source control) is the area where the facts surprised me the most. I want to share some of the fact grabs that I got during the last year as we studied the issue, to help understand why we are getting hit by this tidal wave locally.

Ninety percent of the opium grown in the world comes from Afghanistan.  Our congressman, Thomas Massie, sits on the budget oversight committee that monitors U.S. spending there.  He spoke at a chamber event recently, and gave some facts.  He said that we have spent over 8 billion dollars to control opiates from Afghanistan: and production has doubled and purity has increased during that time. Apparently the money we spent on building the roads and bridges there and improving the electric grid in Afghanistan has been put to use by the Afghani’s.

I don’t think this was intended.

At another heroin control meeting I attended, a regional summit in Ohio, an Ohio appellate court judge rose to speak and said that in the cases he is reviewing, heroin is $7-8 per hit.  Judge Fischer then said that the price was $35 in the recent past.

We have very good local law enforcement interdiction efforts with the Northern Ky. drug strike force.  But the supply of opiates vs local interdiction was described by another expert, Sam Quinones, as like trying to drink out of a fire hose. Mexican drug cartels have no problem supplying the demand they created here.

Apparently our border is not a big issue for them.

So what do we do about a total ineptitude at the federal level where vast amounts of our money is spent with decreasing effectiveness? You know that’s a good question.  But I have seen what happens in companies and organizations, when someone is incompetent, they get fired for cause. We have a federal election upcoming.

What would good federal drug interdiction look like? One aspect would be a border wall, with built in electronic monitoring, and a better equipped border patrol at the southern border. Another aspect would be sea port control that is enhanced.  A third aspect would correct foreign policy to actually reduce the drug supply from Afghanistan, other drug producers, and associated cartels. This type of improvement takes a team of federal leaders not afraid to think and act to keep America’s best interest first.

Being able to read the signs of the times is a special talent.  Being able to actually build and improve any organization to success, takes hard work and talent.  Let me say this, the man that won the republican vote in Kentucky’s presidential caucus is the only one with a credible chance of making the federal government a better servant, and I for one listen to what the Kentucky voter has to say.

Brian Painter,  is a Campbell County Commissioner, in District 1. He has a Bachelor’s degree from NKU and a Masters from Ohio University.

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