JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Dangerous Seattle-area policy leading to teen overdose deaths

Oct 9, 2019, 5:58 AM
fentanyl...
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Three kids King County died of an overdose, taking counterfeit painkillers laced with fentanyl. These deaths are occurring, at least in part, due to a policy that refuses to punish drug dealers.  

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg won’t charge most crimes committed by homeless individuals (particularly those dealing with addiction) nor felony possession of illegal substances, respectively. This has had unintended consequences.

Talk to most cops and they’ll tell you that drug dealers have evolved with the policy. They’re holding on to less product to sell, knowing if they’re caught, they won’t be charged. Once they sell out of the product they’re holding on to, they just get another supply. Cops are rendered relatively powerless in arresting low level drug dealers. This is important.

How small Washington cities are attempting to fight homelessness

As a result of the policy, drug dealers continue to flood the streets with illegal, addictive, dangerous substances — including fentanyl-laced counterfeit drugs.

“The vast majority of oxycodone pills purchased on the street in King County and elsewhere are likely counterfeit and likely contain deadly amounts of fentanyl,” King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said last week.

These dealers are empowered to continue their crimes, mostly unconcerned with the legal consequences. This policy has created a culture, in my view, of more and more people feeling comfortable selling drugs. It also has the impact of making people more comfortable purchasing them.

There are fewer threats of being arrested for possession — whether we’re talking about a homeless addict or a teen addict from a loving home — which makes it more likely that they’ll illegally purchase their substance of choice. Fewer consequences means they’re likely more willing to engage in the behavior.

So it should come as no shock that an addict — or a casual drug user — isn’t thinking twice before purchasing drugs (or sharing potentially fentanyl-laced drugs with friends) when we’ve normalized the transaction.

We’ve even seen an activist-journalist in the New York Times pretend our approach is working. It’s not. And, unfortunately, it means innocent people — including teenagers — are dying of overdoses or falling deeper into addiction.

Satterberg has a painful, personal connection to the fight against opioid addiction, losing his younger sister to it. It drove him, in large part, to his policy. He finds it compassionate. His heart is in the right place, but his compassion is making the problem worse, no matter what an ideologically-driven NYT puff piece says. When you have such a blanket policy, like this one, it will be abused and people will suffer.

Most reasonable voices on the drug war suggest viewing arrests on a case-by-case basis. It’s exactly why a similar policy in Snohomish County is in the process of being changed by their prosecutor.

Cops and prosecutors need to be able to look at an individual case and decide if threat of arrest and jail time will get an addict to accept our offers of drug treatment. In cases where it’ll work, we need to be able to leverage jail time to change behavior. Their lives are literally on the line. If it won’t work, then we can approach it differently, without throwing everyone in jail.

Federal Way mayor doesn’t believe string of shootings are gang-related

An added benefit to this approach is you can also use jail time to get an addict to turn on the drug dealer selling them the substance. And maybe — just maybe — after a change in the drug-acceptance culture here, a teen, or adult, will think twice about making that illegal purchase, knowing it’s not an automatic get-out-of-jail-free offense.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

tacoma, officers, tacoma police, manny ellis, Urquhart...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Police staffing crisis in Tacoma is nearly as bad as in Seattle, morale ‘decimated’

The Tacoma Police Department is dramatically understaffed as crime continues to surge across the city. Police officers are now sounding the alarms.
3 days ago
vaccinations...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Inslee firing thousands isn’t about health – it’s about forced vaccinations

Governor Jay Inslee's COVID-19 vaccine mandate isn't about public health. It's about power and forced vaccinations. 
4 days ago
Troyer...
KTTH staff

Pierce County Sheriff Troyer says he knew charges were ‘coming since day one’

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer joins the Jason Rantz Show to react to two misdemeanor charges against him from the attorney general's office.
4 days ago
troyer...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: State AG charges Pierce County Sheriff with 2 misdemeanors after ‘unusual’ move

Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office is readying misdemeanor charges against Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer. The filing could come as early as Tuesday.
5 days ago
police, consent decree...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle mayor downplays crisis, falsely says only 24 officers didn’t turn in vaccine paperwork

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told reporters on Monday that "only about two dozen officers have not put in their [vaccine] paperwork" ahead of the midnight deadline.
5 days ago
unvaccinated officers Seattle...
KTTH staff

Seattle mayor: ‘About two dozen’ SPD officers have yet to submit proof of vaccination

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and interim Chief Adrian Diaz both submitted final pleas to unvaccinated officers over the weekend. 
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Rantz: Dangerous Seattle-area policy leading to teen overdose deaths