Letter to Pantagraph Editor

Submission Date: November 30, 2022
Attributing Author: Dr. Tamara Olt
Source: Pantagraph.com

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Dr. Tamara Olt, BNM Executive Director, submits a letter to the editor of “The Pantagraph.”

Republican state Senators Sally Turner and Sue Rezin recently introduced a bill that, if enacted, would double down on the failed war on drugs by imposing harsh penalties for the distribution of drugs that contain fentanyl.

As the mother of a son who lost his life to an accidental heroin overdose, I am here to say that this hasty and misinformed approach to the overdose epidemic will not only fail to save lives but will worsen the health crisis here in Illinois.

When my son, Joshua, passed away in 2012, I was heartbroken and angry, and I wanted revenge. As I started talking to other moms who lost their children, however, I realized that this attitude is what led to the exact conditions that killed my son — using in secret due to shame, a dangerous drug supply caused by prohibition, and an emphasis on punishment over care. Our kids are not dying because of nefarious drug sellers but rather by the “tough-on-crime” policies that have repeatedly done the opposite of what politicians claim they will do.

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