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Letter: Treatment, not punishment, for addicts 'makes complete sense'

Published: July 31, 2016 12:00 AM

The statistic

is startling. In Summit County, Narcan -- the antidote for opiate overdose -- has been used 323 times on addicts since the beginning of the year ("Operation Second Chance, .." July 24).

The gist of the article is on the local movement away from punishment of addicts to treatment for minor possession and use of illegal drugs. This is part of a national trend. Even to an old school law-and-order type such as myself, this makes compete sense.

Opiate addiction is a multi-faceted problem. Treatment is part of the solution. But before treatment can be effective, addicts must first survive their overdose.

This is where fentanyl comes in. Fentanyl is a drug that, when mixed in with heroin, gives the concoction a stronger boost, and it's this stronger boost that is causing overdoses, often fatal ones.

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Fentanyl comes from China. It's either shipped clandestinely into the U.S. directly, or it is first shipped to smuggler gangs in Mexico and Canada from where it finds its way here.

China also exports a chemical known by the acronym NPP. This substance is a precursor to fentanyl and can easily be converted into the opioid via a chemical step or two.

The U.S government knows all about this. The Obama Administration has tried to talk to China . . . but to little or no avail.

China is hungry for exports. On their own volition, the Chinese won't do the right thing regarding fentanyl -- or on issues like our massive trade deficit with them and China's ceaseless theft of U.S. trade and commercial secrets. What is needed is for someone to grab China by the ears and force that country to live up to a higher standard than it's naturally inclined to do.

Peter Skurkiss, Stow

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