The Drug Enforcement Agency forced many doctors to stop prescribing opioids for pain. Because of this, many patients turned to illegal drugs or killed themselves.
If the DEA hadn't interfered with the legitimate prescribing of these doctors, how many lives would've been saved. DEA should mean: Death Easily Accomplished.
In Portugal in 1999 the use of hard drugs was rampant. One percent (100,000) reported an addiction to hard drugs. Hundreds died every year. Portugal removed criminal penalties for all drug use which was combined with an intense focus on harm reduction, treatment and rehabilitation.
A decade later, the number of addicts was halved and overdose deaths dropped to just 30 a year for the entire country. It has remained steady ever since. Today, 90 percent of money is spent on health care and only 10 percent on police enforcement.
Drug addiction should be treated as any other disease and not as a crime. It was encouraging to read about Jack Easterday because he's treating it as a disease ("Former addicts fight growing opioid crisis," The Daily News, June 9). We can make real progress if the DEA will stop treating addiction as a crime and treat it as the disease it is.