Heroin deaths are spiking in the U.S., concerning lawmakers who proclaim it an epidemic and public health issue.
Between 2012-13, the number of U.S. drug overdose deaths resulting from heroin spiked from 5,900 to 8,200, said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy Center.
"I've been with [the] DEA almost 30 years, and I have to tell you, I've never seen it this bad," Jack Riley, acting deputy administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said at a House judiciary subcommittee hearingTuesday.
Only in a parallel universe could our lawmakers be considering lighter sentencing for heroin at a time that its lethal impact has never been more appalling.
If there is to be a vote in Congress on lowering drug sentences, it should be taken one drug at a time. There may be many who would vote to lower sentences for pot. But if there are those who also want to lower sentences for heroin (or meth or Ecstasy or numerous other hard drugs), it would improve visibility and accountability if legislators would stand up, one at a time, and say so, drug-by-drug.
There was a day when liberals and libertarians agreed that visibility and accountability were valuable qualities in government. We may see soon if that is still their view.