Operation Angel a 1st step for drug aid

Published 10:08 am Monday, September 5, 2016

We are happy to report that our criminal justice and political leaders are taking seriously a proposal to use a local mission group, “Operation Angel,” to treat dug addicts.

Considering that only one parish away, there is a free treatment center for anyone seeking recovery, it makes sense to make use of it if we can. Most people understand that drug addiction is a devastating disease that rips apart families and communities.

The devastation comes from a couple of sources. One is the drug itself, which may kill or debilitate a user but the other source comes from the criminal justice system itself which may spur meaningful change in some, but for many, many other users is little more than a weigh station on a long, miserable path.

We remind our readers that the proposed program is not meant to be an alternative to jail or legal consequence but a route for help if a user should volunteer themselves to the program and show some initiative.

Tweaking that system to offer hope and help seems humane and also reasonable, because if drug addiction is a disease, then it should be treated as a disease rather than as a crime, especially when users are seeking help and want to do the right thing.

We hope the Operation Angel program is a success, and we also hope our political leaders continue to be open to new, innovative ideas because while this is a great first start, we cannot afford to stop here.

While the state currently has little extra money to spend today, legislators need to work together to find some kind of statewide solution that can offer effective treatment to anyone who asks for it, be it through a religious charity or some other entity.