My Monday Newswatch 16 assignment took me to Tamaqua in Schuylkill County. About 30 people were being rounded up on drug charges. I've done stories like this many, many times over the years, but this one really cried out for more attention.
First, when you whack 30 people on drug charges, in a small town, on the same morning, that's news.
Second, it was something the police chief said. His honesty was refreshing. It also illustrated a really sad state of affairs in Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, and eastern Pennsylvania. The chief actually said we're losing the war on drugs. I'm sure most in law enforcement feel the same way. The chief had the onions to admit it.
Meth and heroin seem to be the new drugs of choice. They're cheap and available.
The chief also said Tamaqua had a dozen overdoses in a month, and one was fatal.
And, it was a seemingly endless parade of suspects-- out of the police cars, into the police station for processing, out of the police station to an adjacent magistrate's office, back to the police station to await a trip to jail.
Another bit of honesty from the chief-- the drug trade will slow down for about a week. It will pick up again, the drug bust just a tiny blip on the drug radar.
The chief vows to keep making arrests, as it should be. Sisyphus came to mind.
Drug cases are a tough call. It's an illness and a crime at the same time. There are no easy answers-- treat the abusers, reduce the demand, try to cut off the supply.
Just keep pushing that rock up the hill.