To make mention of the ongoing opioid crisis in Suffolk County is almost risking talking the subject to death. The more something is discussed, quoted, or spotlit, there’s usually a tendency for the public to become desensitized to it. Unfortunately, the opioid crisis plaguing our country, most notably on display in Suffolk County, is perhaps one of the last problems with which we should risk public fatigue.

            We here at The Messenger are optimistic that this is not the case, but it’s a sad reality when this is a possibility we have to entertain. Unfortunately, the headlines just keep getting more extreme, more surreal, and more indicative that this problem continues to evolve into a maelstrom of vice, lack of self-control, and degeneracy.

            Look no further than the recent case of fourteen-month-old Joseph Adonis, a Holbrook child who is suspected to have overdosed from exposure to fentanyl. Although autopsy results are still pending, District Attorney Ray Tierney (R) said that toxicology reports of Adonis’ blood show the presence of fentanyl, morphine, and cocaine.

            The tragic death is just the latest in a seemingly endless slew of unnecessary casualties to such a preventable issue. Addiction, the drug market, and the human urge to chase a high or experiment with drugs are problems as old as time and they won’t go away any time soon. However, it’s our responses to these natural caveats to our society that can change the effects they have on the population at large.

            Let’s also not confuse people who need help with people who perpetuate tragedies such as that of Joseph Adonis. While addiction is not a desirable trait, drugs or not, it does not make someone intrinsically “bad.” Additionally, there are far too many stories of addiction by proxy, products of circumstance, or even just old fashioned bad choices that incline us to separate the people who suffer under such a large umbrella.

            Unfortunately, Albany seems perfectly content affording this same benefit of the doubt to virtually everyone under the umbrella, and that type of one-size-fits-all leniency only affects one demographic: those who have behaved and now find themselves inheriting a tragedy.

            Make no mistake: drug dealers, kingpins, and those who profit from the proliferation of the industry have objectively “bad” motives and clearly do not have concern for the community overall. While these people might have also landed in their situations from certain circumstances, we find that affording them sympathy en masse is naive at best and contrived at worst. A point of no return on any downward spiral is eventually reached by all and it’s at that point when leniency should become progressively more scarce.

            Albany seems to think that all parties in the opioid epidemic are victims and that all should be treated with kid gloves, because the worst thing you can do to an unscrupulous drug kingpin is hurt his feelings. The most unfathomable reward for a negligent parent who directly leads to his or her infant son’s overdose is exercise justice applicably.

            While most people are not “bad” people, most people aren’t foolish either. We used to live in a world where we understood the consequences of our actions, regardless of our origin stories or current statuses. We can only be so sympathetic or understanding until the objectively “bad” actors begin to take advantage of that virtue.

            And Albany seems to only aid them in that cause, as loose bail laws, a lack of judicial discretion in retaining offenders, and newly-minted criminal justice reforms such as the “Clean Slate Act” only make it easier for drug dealers – especially those whose products lead to overdoses – back on the streets.

            But the Joseph Adonis problem is one that really can’t be solved with legislation, press conferences, or newspaper headlines – much to our chagrin. The Adonis case is just one of pure negligence, complete lack of empathy, and total degeneracy. To possess hard drugs, scales, and even firearms around a child, much less an infant, is what we would deem objectively evil and selfish behavior.

            We’re not interested in offering sympathy to people like the parents of Joseph Adonis, nor are we willing to extend our understanding to repeat offenders who create similar tragedies by proxy of their “business.” Albany is being intentionally foolish by not allowing local law enforcement to appropriately handle these cases, to one day hopefully make a Joseph Adonis headline the unfortunate black swan event it should be, rather than another sordid story in a terribly long and unnecessary tale of benefit of the doubt.

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The Messenger Papers Editorial Board aspires to represent a fair cross section of our Suffolk County readers. We work to present a moderate view on issues facing Long Island families and businesses.