Gee: 26 drug busts in 21 days merely spotlight the tip of King County’s fentanyl problem

Aug 15, 2022, 1:08 PM | Updated: 1:49 pm
Shannon Doyle, mother of Makayla Cox, speaks during an interview. Makayla Cox, a high school student,, thought she was taking medication that her friend had procured to treat pain and anxiety. Instead, the pill she took was fentanyl. It killed her almost instantly. (Getty)

The King County crackdown on drug dealers will not solve the fentanyl problem, nor will pulling out the Nancy Regan hand puppet. KIRO Newsradio’s Gee Scott and Spike O’Neill agree that the public health crisis needs to be addressed at the root of the problem. They say the solution needs to start well before drug dealers come into the picture, and that will be neither easy nor simple.

“What’s more important to me is that your loved ones do not die,” Gee said. Arresting drug dealers only addresses the middle step of the issue. “The dealer will eventually get out of jail, but your loved ones won’t come back.”

King County prosecutors filed 26 felony drug cases over 21 business days last month. At the same time, overdose deaths from fentanyl have been on a sharp incline over the past two years. In 2021, King County had 385 deaths. So far, in 2022, the county has had 310 deaths, and it is only August.

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“We need to quit doing things the same way we’ve done all of these years and figure out a way to decrease the overdose deaths,” Gee said.

“Just cleaning up the guys who are in the streets selling drugs is the tip of the solving-the-problem spear. But it’s got to be cut at the root. When you pull a dandelion out of your lawn, you’ve got to get the root. You’ve got to go all the way down there,” Spike, host of KIRO Nights, said.

Gee and Spike agree we need to get away from simple solutions like ‘Just Say No.’ They believe we can’t be afraid of tough discussions. Education on the dangers of drug abuse must be improved. It’s important to educate parents who don’t believe their kids could be involved in drugs this dangerous. It starts at home and moves to schools. Spike says, “I tell my kids, one simple thing: Any mistake you make can be lethal.”

First, we need to worry about our kids getting home safely, and that starts with truly educating them about how dangerous fentanyl is. We need to let kids know they can talk to us about their problems without it coming back at them. The mental health crisis also cannot be ignored. In a post-pandemic world, we have failed to address the added stress.

Another aspect that needs to be dealt with is the inflow of drugs into the country. Uncontrolled borders are only part of the problem. “The drugs aren’t coming to this country on the backs of people walking across the desert. A wall is not the issue,” Spike says. “What needs to be done is interaction with foreign governments to have them step up and do their part and control the production and mass transportation of these illegal drugs coming in.”

As we said, neither easy nor simple.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee: 26 drug busts in 21 days merely spotlight the tip of King County’s fentanyl problem