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Two Tales of Collateral Damage in the War on Drugs

In war operations, it’s called collateral damage. That’s when civilians who aren’t being targeted as enemy combatants are killed or injured along with the intended targets. It’s also when homes, vehicles or livestock are hurt as a consequence of the military action.

Something similar happens in the war on drugs. There are the intended targets, the bad guys, but then there are the consequences to others… the collateral damage.

Two stories last month illustrate what happens. In the first, nine dogs were seized as part of a drug house bust. Five perps went to jail in Elgin. As a side issue, the eight pit bull terriers and a single Rottweiler were taken by animal control. It is unlikely those dogs will ever live to see anything other than the concrete walls and fencing of the animal control facility. They may have already been destroyed.

A second report comes out of Morgantown where the Burke County Narcotics Task Force arrested a couple who are accused of dealing in marijuana and “magic” mushrooms. The pair, Casey McBrayer and Crystal Crews, were arrested and put on $20,000 bond each – a substantial sum. At the time of the arrests, a young child was present – the collateral damage.

Social Service workers took the child and were able to place him with a relative.

Drug dealing has consequences for the accused, but the real tragedy is the unintended consequences for those under the dealers care. Sociologists tell us that broken families lead to crime. Crime also leads to broken families. It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle. You simply can’t care for your kids from jail. And even when jail isn’t the final outcome, the costs of defending a case, in time, money, and emotional investment, are huge.

If only there was a way to surgically remove the cancer without harming the tissue alongside. For now, there isn’t and the war on drugs will continue to produce collateral damage.


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