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Drug dealers blamed for the opioid crisis

Addiction to opioids has reached crisis and epidemic levels in South Carolina. This means fatter profits for people in the drug trade, including medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies. However, it also leads to many families being torn apart. As a result, politicians have been toying with the idea of getting tougher on drugs and the people belonging to the illicit side of the drug trade.

According to PBS, even back in 2017, the former attorney general told federal prosecutors that it was time to bring back some of the practices the Obama administration reversed. These were tough practices related to the failed “war on drugs” that lasted for decades in America. At the top of their list was tougher prison sentences to discourage people from becoming involved in the drug trade. At the time, the president also chimed in to say that drug abuse was crippling American families. Later on, he even called for the death penalty.

The administration cited the effects of the drug trade on local communities to justify their approach. Activities related to drug trafficking not only saw an increase in deaths related to overdose, but an overall spike in violent crime. In spite of this, the attorney general did leave the final decision up to prosecutors, who he believed did not need to have their positions micromanaged from the White House.

Then, the Trump administration made a 180-degree turn when it signed the First Step Act into law. This marked the biggest reform to the criminal justice system in more than ten years. According to the White House, the bill ensured that people received fairer sentences. It also offered rehabilitative programs and a solid strategy for drug treatment. One of the most important inclusions is that it helped to reduce minimum mandatory sentencing related to drug crimes.

It is not clear what led to this sharp turn in policy, but it received bipartisan support all across America. Even so, people in the illicit drug trade continue to take the fall for the opioid crisis. It is not yet clear if a reform in the health care system and tackling the over-prescribing of opioids is also on the horizon.

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