It’s no secret that when it comes to the “war on drugs” first declared by Richard Nixon 42 years ago, the good guys are losing.
It’s no secret nationwide, and it’s no secret here.
“The proliferation of illegal drugs upstate is “truly deplorable,” Delaware County Sheriff Thomas E. Mills said in a media statement a couple of weeks ago.
“Unfortunately, our rural communities have been exploited by dealers from urban areas looking for a place to carry out their business,” Mills wrote. “These individuals have taken advantage of our limited law enforcement resources and set up shop, not just here, but everywhere in the upstate region.”
True, as far as it goes. There’s no question that drug dealers from New York City, Long Island and elsewhere infest our area with their poison. We’d dearly love to blame our local drug problem on these evil people, to find fault with anyone but ourselves.
“Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves.”
With apologies to Shakespeare, the fault for our drug situation is indeed in ourselves. If there were not a ready market here for their vile wares, the dealers wouldn’t be making the three- or four-hour trips to peddle their cocaine and heroin.
Law enforcement is working hard, but there’s only so much the cops can do. Arresting dealers is like the carnival game Whac-A-Mole. Smack one down, and another pops up.
“… I guarantee you that the demand is still there, and where there’s demand, somebody is going to take that person’s place,” Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. said.
“We do our part and combat (drugs) and make arrests and put it through the court system, and inevitably, someone picks up where the last one left off,” Oneonta Police Chief Dennis Nayor said.