Drug Epidemic Far From Cured

It would be nice to believe statistics about illegal drug trafficking in Ohio are evidence of success in fighting it. Nice, but not realistic.

During a conference on drug abuse held this week in Columbus, state Public Safety Director John Born said law enforcement agencies have taken a big bite out of drug crime. The average amount of drugs seized in each arrest is down by more than 75 percent, he explained. Also, police are finding less cash to confiscate from drug pushers.

But the number of drug arrests continues to escalate. And, as East Ohio residents are well aware, drug-related violence shows no letup.

Unfortunately, what the statistics may mean is that high-level drug dealers – the ones with lots of cash and big stashes of controlled substances – are getting better at evading arrest.

We hope not. But clearly, there is no reason to believe the drug abuse epidemic is easing. That will happen only if local law enforcement agencies receive maximum support from state and federal governments – and if, as Attorney General Mike DeWine put it, there is “a change in the culture” and individual Ohioans take a greater role in shutting down the pushers in their neighborhoods.