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Fighting Against Fentanyl

Treatment or War

photo by Anthony Montemurro on Creative Commons

According to “Letters from an American” by Heather Cox Richardson, “The Biden administration today (4/14) announced a series of actions it has taken and will continue to take to disrupt the production and distribution of illegal street fentanyl around the world. The efforts involve the Department of Justice, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the State Department; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the Treasury Department.”

Disrupting the production and distribution of illegal street fentanyl sounds like a terrifically noble goal, one that is designed to help alleviate suffering worldwide.


I hope it’s more successful than Prohibition was.

And I hope it’s more successful than our decades-long War on Drugs.

Color me skeptical.


The U.S. is a massive market for drugs of all kinds.

My Dad was a true believer in capitalism and took a real shine to the idea that “if there’s a buck to be made, someone is going to make it!”

Ain’t that the truth?


I speak on this as an alcoholic/addict in recovery. Until I received treatment and was given education and tools to understand how to halt my endless drinking and drugging, nothing was going to stop me except death.

I’m one of the fortunate ones.

I’m fortunate because my need and desire for “more” has been arrested.

I was a part of the market. I bought and consumed stuff. Lots of it.


I caught the second half of “The Untouchables” the other night. Drinking was “prohibited,” but the market for it still existed, of course. This gave rise to the likes of Al Capone. Seeing the historic character of Cqpone as enacted by the brilliant Robert DeNiro is a terrifying vision of what people will do to make that buck if the market exists.


What might happen if we put these types of resources, funding, and attention on treatment and education? How about if we work to lessen the market?

Damn, fentanyl is a disaster. But if we don’t focus on the root causes of addiction/alcoholism, there’ll be the next drug if the efforts against fentanyl production succeed.

An addict will do what it takes to get their fix.

Let’s bring compassion and intelligence to this tragic part of the human condition on this earth.


There’s a beautiful lighthouse at the end of Long Island, in the gorgeous town of Montauk. It was built a good way back on land and was a beacon for ships for decades.

As radar has made lighthouses largely obsolete, this lighthouse and the surrounding area serve as a park, and a lovely place to visit.

Erosion has taken away much of the land in front of the lighthouse, and it was in peril.

Since there was no actual need for the lighthouse any longer, efforts to save it seemed to be superfluous. But, efforts were made.

The Army Corps of Engineers was brought in, and they moved huge stones into the waters to create a seawall.

It was to no avail.

But, a couple from Queens who owned a home on the north shore of Long Island had come up with a creative solution for erosion after a storm took their neighbor’s home and their place looked to be fated to also succumb to a landslide.

Giorgina Reid followed her instincts and created a way to save their home. She called it “Reed-Trench Terracing,” utilizing reeds and other natural debris to stem the erosion. It worked, and it saved their home.

She convinced the powers-that-be to allow her to try to save the lighthouse using this technique.

It was a success. The lighthouse still stands.


Sometimes creativity can be much stronger than brute force. There are many ways to approach a problem. In the case of the lighthouse, a gentler and more thoughtful approach saved the day.

Yes, we can attack our War on Drugs, we can have shootouts and arrests and spend money and fight, fight, fight.

But the metaphor from my life is that I surrendered. I surrendered to the fact that I had a beast within me that wanted to take me down, and that’s the truth of my condition.

And the truth of our condition is that as long as the massive market for drugs exists, someone is going to make a buck from it.

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