Drug abuse has been part of human existence for a very long time. Some might say it's been around as far back as the Garden of Eden (think of the forbidden apple that just couldn't be resisted).

So there's little that can be said to alter the fact that the abuse of illegal narcotics (and in some cases legal pharmaceuticals) is here to stay. That's not defeatist; that's just the way it is.

Still, the inescapable truth is that drug abuse comes at a great price to the addicts, their families left to pick up the pieces and to society that all too often is victimized when users commit crimes that bankroll their addictions.

In the May 26 and June 1 editions of The Gresham Outlook, we brought you a two-part series on the resurgence of heroin as a drug of choice in East County and areas beyond our borders.

Through these stories we learned that heroin is easy to get, exactly like ordering a pizza. We learned that efforts to curtail methamphetamine production have worked, but users have simply switched to heroin, which doesn't require the cooking operations. And, we've also learned that oxycodone - a painkiller prescribed by physicians - is in some cases becoming a gateway drug to heroin.

We agree with a Global Commission on Drug Policy panel that issued a report this week saying the decades-long global war on drugs has been a complete failure.

Where we disagree with the panel's findings is its conclusion that 'certain drugs' should be decriminalized. That is defeatist.

While the war on illegal drug trafficking and abuse will never be won, we think it's important to say that it's the good fight - not that war - that is important. As a society we must persist with educating our children; intervene when friends and family are ensnared by addiction; enforce laws that make life difficult for suppliers and users; and provide treatment for those who want to break the cycle.

Those efforts will never stop anyone who is hell-bent on abusing drugs, but it's a far better approach than throwing the gate wide open and inviting a higher level of addiction, which will only invite more crime and heap cost on the American public.

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