Joe Orick: Dealing drugs is not a non-violent offense – The Star Press

Dealing drugs is often referred to in the news media as a non-violent offense if you believe the so called experts on this extremely polarizing subject. However, after serving this community as a deputy prosecutor for almost 20 years and personally prosecuting more drug dealers than I can remember the so-called experts are simply dead wrong.
If you listen to the numerous pundits of the so-called news stations, the reality celebrities, YouTubers and influencers that dealing drugs is simply a non-violent offense and that these offenders should be treated with leniency and compassion, vice incarceration. These pundits will often make the claim that if these same drug dealers had other options they would not be dealing drugs to make money.  They act as if the drug dealers have absolutely no choice; they must deal drugs for their very survival. Clearly, they have not seen what dealing drugs does to a community, to include the violent crime that always comes with it. Just take a look at the cities of Detroit, Chicago and our own Indianapolis.  It is not a coincidence that these cities with a disproportionate number of individuals that deal drugs have some of the highest rates of murder and acts of violence in the nation.
First, let’s be clear that I am talking about individuals who deal heroin, meth, cocaine and opiates. These are very addictive drugs and can completely destroy entire communities. I am not talking about marijuana, alcohol or cigarettes.  And yes, I know the startling statistics for alcohol and cigarettes and the consequences that each of them bring to the consumer. 
I also know that I would rather have a two-pack-a-day cigarette smoker living next door to me than a person who sells heroin to whomever has the money to buy it.
Over the years after personally conducting criminal jury trials involving drug dealers that have dealt drugs (or which I refer to as poison) I am always literally amazed at the number of so-called respectful individuals that will often show up at sentencing asking the judge for a lenient sentence for this defendant. This drug dealer who has personally brought drugs and crime into their own community. Individuals showing up in the past asking for leniency for the drug dealer have ranged from numerous pastors, school teachers and friends and family of the defendant.   
Overwhelmingly here in Delaware County, the largest percentage of violent acts where an individual has been charged with murder has had illegal drugs involved in it in one form or another. Whether it is one drug dealer robbing another dealer, or the attempted purchasing of drugs ending in a violent act is becoming more and more common in our community.
The ridiculous argument that dealing drugs is a non-violent offense is ludicrous at best.  Ask any individual, young or old, male or female who has been addicted to drugs if they fail to pay their dealer if it is a non-violent offense? The dealer is simply not going to forgive the drug debt. A drug dealer will get his cash one way or the other. A drug dealer does not take checks, credit cards or have a layaway plan. You must have cash! A drug dealer does not care how you obtain your cash, just that you have cash for the chosen drug in question.  
Drug dealers will often seek out young females and provide them with free drugs until eventually they get them addicted to the drug. Once they are addicted the drugs are no longer free and the drugs come with a heavy price that the female will often be forced to pay.  If a young female does not have cash to pay her drug debt simply ask her if drug dealing is a non-violent offense? Her answer 100% of the time will be no. She is often at times forced to perform sexual acts for the drug dealer and his gang for her payment for the drug.  She will be often forced into prostitution to pay her drug debts to the dealer. Does anyone actually think that a young female will report that she was brutally raped by her drug dealer? Does this qualify as a non-violent offense?
Individuals who are addicted to drugs are not often gainfully employed in the community.  They have to steal, rob and do whatever they can to support their addiction.  Their first victims are usually family members and friends who usually don’t report these acts to local law enforcement. As these criminal acts eventually become a daily occurrence, the family usually has no choice but to evict the addict from the home which in turn results that the addict is on the streets and must increase their criminal behavior just to survive and to support their ever increasing addiction. 
In this age of cancel culture and being woke I have often heard that if you are silent on a subject then you are consenting to it.  If you do not speak out against racism, sexism, or any of the other issues that need to be addressed then you are just consenting to it by your silence on the subject. I think there is some merit to that argument.
If you have an individual that is dealing drugs in your neighborhood or your community then your silence can be taken as consent.  How many times have we heard that it is law enforcements job to clean up the community? We often hear that I am not helping the police to do their job! That snitches get stiches! Who honestly thinks that the police on their own can stop drugs from destroying an entire community? In these cases can we assume if a community does not report drug dealers to local law enforcement that silence is consent?
I am quite sure that some individuals will take great offense to this article.  Drugs have destroyed families, neighborhoods and whole communities.  Drugs have led to extreme acts of violence and Murder here in Delaware County. Every criminal gang has extensive ties to dealing heroin, meth, cocaine or opiates. 
Dealing drugs is definitely not a non-violent offense.
Joe Orick is a deputy prosecutor in Delaware County.


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