Many were critical last week of New Martinsville Police Department's warning, issued via its Facebook page, concerning the "bad" batch of heroin circulating the community. Some suggested the warning was unnecessary, that allowing users to consume the "bad" heroin would end up taking care of the community's drug problem, that the "trash" would take itself out.
There is no doubt that drugs are tearing our communities apart. The ways in which it wreaks havoc are endless.
We are exposed to further crime as a result of drug offenses. We have written about court cases where a drug user admits to stealing from his or her own family, in order to pay for more drugs.
Besides additional crime, sometimes our own children cannot play outside at public parks, due to discarded needles.
Let us not forget the families torn apart as a result of drug use. Children get shuffled from home to home after their parents go to prison... or worse, after their parents overdose and die.
So yes, maybe in the angry eyes of a drug-battered and broken community, a heroin-addict overdosing on a bad batch of heroin is giving the addict what they deserve.
Would that outcome really be for the best though?
Even if one addict says no, after heeding the police department's warning... we feel that makes the warning worth it, perhaps more so in the eyes of our law enforcement and first responders.
Perhaps the warning will mean that first responders won't have to expend additional time and resources responding to an overdose. Our medical examiner and law enforcement won't have the tough tasks before them that come with such a tragedy.
A child won't have to grow up surrounded by whispers and a possible stigma that may come with having parents whose lives were cut too short due to drugs.
For these and many other reasons, we don't think it was wrong for NMPD to issue the warning about the bad "batch" of heroin. Because, until we all have walked in our responders' shoes and have seen what they have seen, we can't say a warning isn't worth it. It's worth so much more.