OPINION | Chris McCarthy: “Marshall Plan” for Opioids Required Now
The bipartisan Marshall Plan saved western Europe from the horror of Soviet communism and we need a similar response to the horrors of opioids.
At the conclusion of World War 2, Sec. of State George Marshall tasked George Kennan with drafting a plan to contain Stalin and the Soviet Union and save Western Europe from communism. George Kennan was given a staff of two and two weeks to return an with an answer. Kennan took an extra week to come back with the what we now know was the successful "Marshal Plan" to prevent Soviet domination of western Europe.
Certainly, our leaders can stop some hoodlums from poisoning America with opioids if they get together and commit to the mission. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing about solutions, the problem is when disagreement results in inaction and gamesmanship that block action.
The Marshall Plan was successful because it approached the problem of Soviet aggression from a variety of angles with a blend of hard and soft power solutions. Soft power was used in the form of economic aid, trade, and cultural exchanges. Hard power solutions like military build-ups, covert action and espionage were used strategically by the free world.
President Trump is right to call for the death penalty and increased law enforcement to strategically target drug traffickers. The people importing narcotics into the US are sophisticated operators who are taking a calculated risk. Change the risk factors and sophisticated people will change their behavior.
However, the vast number of individuals caught up in the world of opioid addiction are in need of medical attention, not punishment. The government must increase the availability of drug treatment and figure out a variety of strategies to keep addicts alive and safe when they are active and not in treatment.
The American people expect a serious approach to the current problem of opioid addiction and the related tragedies. Politicians who are seen as attacking solutions for partisan gain will pay the ultimate political price - death at the ballot box - while the American people continue to pay the true ultimate price of addiction.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.