Addiction has destroyed entire cities, yet we continue to fight a failed drug war

To the editor: Once again, the story is told in heartbreaking detail how OxyContin abuse has devastated the lives of addicts and their families. (“How black-market OxyContin spurred a town’s descent into crime, addiction and heartbreak,” July 10)

Similar stories have been written for decades about crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine. Meanwhile, drug addiction continues.

Addicts steal, spread disease and even kill to maintain their habits. If they survive and go to jail, they buy drugs there as well.


The lesson is clear: Drug laws do not stop people from harming themselves, but they do cause addicts to commit crimes and harm others. We need a new approach that decriminalizes the disease of drug addiction. We must protect society from the collateral damage and stop waging war on ourselves.

Thomas Einstein, Santa Monica


To the editor: As a native of Everett, Wash., I would like to say that the article about the black market of Oxycontin in my city was spot on.

The aftermath of that epidemic can still be seen all over the city. We have people of all demographics languishing on the streets because of it, addicted to heroin and cycling in and out of jail. And then I think to myself, how many cities are like this throughout the country?

Thanks to The Times for this. The article was an incredible read and really hit home (pun intended).

Jeff Swanson, Everett, Wash.


To the editor: OxyContin appears to be prescribed for just about anything that causes pain. Case in point: My 16-year-old son broke his femur in January and he was prescribed OxyContin.

Sixteen years old!

Is it any wonder we have an opioid addiction problem in this country if it’s made that readily available?

Dave Connors, Costa Mesa

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