Clare Co. Sheriff, Wexford Co. Prosecutor Share Concerns Over President’s Opioid Plan
The president’s plan is getting mixed reviews from those who work to protect us and enforce our laws.
In Northern Michigan, some are concerned that the maximum punishment might not fit the crime.
Others say the plan might not make much of a difference at all.
Both Clare County sheriff John Wilson and Jason Elmore, Wexford County prosecutor, say recently each of their counties has seen a different level of opioid impact.
Both say this new idea from the white house could overlook a problem that’s seeded even deeper in many neighborhoods.
“It’s clear that what we really have here in Michigan and across the country is a drug epidemic,” Elmore says.
The Wexford County prosecutor says the president’s plan does aim to curb the horrific impacts of opioid misuse, but how far will it actually reach?
“If the federal government passes a death penalty case, that’s only going to impact those federal cases for which the federal government actually prosecutes,” Elmore says. “The federal government doesn’t prosecute the one-on-one distributions out in a parking lot or a neighborhood or somewhere in our streets. Those cases are the big delivery cases.”
“You can educate people and the big thing is to stop the supply from coming in,” Sheriff Wilson says. “If you can stop the supply, that’s where it is going to start.”
The Clare County sheriff says his deputies have seen a decrease in opioid problems, having to use Narcan less.
He sees both sides of the new plan but questions the extreme level of punishment.
“Definitely, I could see higher penalties for, like, heroin or heroin that’s laced with fentanyl or carfentanyl because we have had drug-related deaths from that and these people that sell it don’t care about the person that’s receiving it,” Sheriff Wilson says. “I believe there should be a death penalty for certain crimes but as far as the drug-related crimes, it depends on the case.”
Whatever happens next, Elmore says the community can help by keeping their eyes open and cabinets clean.
“The number one thing we can do here is to watch our own neighborhoods, report that suspicious activity,” Elmore says. “Get rid of those unused opioid medications in your medicine cabinets.”
Elmore wants to remind people that Michigan does not have the death penalty.
This is a federal proposal.