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House Vote To Crack Down On Heroin Dealers, Pharmacy Robbers

Pharmacy Drugs

Photo: WFIU/WTIU

Pharmacy Drugs

The House passed legislation that aims to crack down on heroin dealers and those who rob pharmacies. But critics argue the legislature is “backsliding” to previous, failed attempts to address the drug epidemic.

The bill increases penalties for robbing a pharmacy and dealing certain amounts of heroin. It also prevents a judge from suspending all or part of some heroin dealing sentences.

Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) says the bill goes against the state’s recent criminal code reform, which was designed to give judges more discretion in sentencing and eliminate increased sentences for variations of the same crime – such as pharmacy robbery penalties being different from other types of robbery.

“We need to keep our focus, our energy, and our dollars on prevention and treatment,” Pierce says.

But Rep. Tom Washburne (R-Evansville) says lawmakers have to confront the state’s drug crisis.

“As society changes, we have to recognize there’s going to be times we’ve got to break from these general principles and go after something very specifically,” Washburne says.

The bill goes back to the Senate, which can send the measure either to the governor or a conference committee.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

  • lastcamp2

    Yes, let’s “crack down.” I guess that has at least dual meanings.
    Where has the last 30 or so years gotten us with the “cracking down.” We have three or four times the number of people locked in our jails and prisons, more than any other country on the planet; not Russia, China, or Mozambique can outdo the US for imprisoning people.
    But then we hear a few murmurings of enlightenment….

  • youngcanoli

    Stop the drug war with objective of shutting down the black market. The drug war has failed. The drug war is driving the problems, not fixing them. Decriminalization/legalization is necessary, it needs to be backed up with public health announcements explaining exactly why it is needed. Its not in any way condoning the abuse of addictors, it is done bc the alternative, the drug war, has made things infinitely worse on almost every level, to include making drugs abundantly available to any & all that wants them.
    We need to pull LE out of the drug biz – that will free up a lot of resources currently chasing their collective tails. When the laws create more harm and cause more damage than they prevent, its time to change the laws. The $1 TRILLION so-called war on drugs is a massive big government failure – on nearly every single level. Its way past time to put the cartels & black market drug dealers out of business. Mass incarceration has failed. We cant even keep drugs out of a contained & controlled environment like prison.
    We need the science of addiction causation to guide prevention, treatment, recovery & public policies. Otherwise, things will inexorably just continue to worsen & no progress will be made. Addiction causation research has continued to show that some people (suffering with addiction) have a “hypo-active endogenous opioid/reward system.” This is the (real) brain disease, making addiction a symptom, not a disease itself. One disease, one pathology. Policy must be made reflecting addiction(s) as the health issue that it is.
    The war on drugs is an apotheosis of the largest & longest war failure in history. It actually exposes our children to more harm & risk and does not protect them whatsoever. In all actuality, the war on drugs is nothing more than an international projection of a domestic psychosis. It is not the “great child protection act,” its actually the complete opposite. Let’s remember, opioids (drug) prohibition is a historical and cultural aberration, just 100 years old. We had fewer drug problems in my own grandparents’ time when opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine and cannabis could all still be bought legally over the counter. (Re)legalizing opioids would not be a “risky social experiment,” as some think. On the contrary, drugs prohibition was the reckless social experiment. And its a massive failure. Alcohol prohibition didn’t work, and opioid prohibition is failing even more miserably. The longer we’ve had drug prohibition laws in place, the worse have the social and health problems they cause gotten.
    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. We must protect society from the collateral damage of addiction and stop waging war on ourselves. We need common sense harm reduction approaches desperately. MAT (medication assisted treatment) and HAT (heroin assisted treatment) must be available options. Of course, MJ should not be a sched drug at all. Every human being is precious, worthy of love and belonging, and deserves opportunities to fulfill his or her potential regardless of past trauma, mental and emotional anguish, addictive behaviors or mistakes made.

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