I am posting today in response to an article I read in the Charleston Post and Courier. To quickly summarize the events that led to the sentence in the case, a 26-year-old black male sold heroin that ended up being used by an 18-year-old white male at a teen house party in a Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. The heroin was extremely potent and it sent the 18-year-old into a coma and eventually to his grave. The dealer was sentenced to 27 years yesterday. The reason I wanted to post about this is not to challenge the length of the sentence or play the race card. I am posting because I am saddened by what this says about our community. Heroin is an extremely dangerous drug. It is not a drug that we expect our children to come across in middle or high school. It is not a drug that we expect the organist at church to peddle on the side. We expect our teens to encounter marijuana and alcohol as they are prevalent and widely distributed, but heroin is altogether another animal.
The sad fact is that when this teen party ended, the best option for extending the "fun" these kids could come up with was scoring and using heroin. This is simply disturbing. While the heroin dealer gets a 27 year sentence on the back-end of these events, I feel the real issue that requires addressing is how 18-year-old kids get to the point where heroin is what they are doing for late night fun and how the dealer gets to the point where he feels selling heroin is his best financial option. I know people make their own decisions, but those decisions are often affected by the circumstances of their lives. I don't know the dealer or the child that died, their families, how they were raised, or any of those other factors personally, but a story like this gives me pause.
I believe the community would be well-served by an analysis of how these school children arrived at the point of using heroin and how this dealer got to the point of being a heroin dealer. I feel that the circumstances that led to these individuals to be a part of these events are the real issue, but I don't see anybody addressing those with the vigor of the criminal charges against the dealer. My hope is that the community will rally to ferret out what led all of the individuals involved in this unfortunate situation to act the way they did and then attempt to keep others from heading down that same path by using what they learn in the process.
Adam W. Howell, Esquire
Here is the link to the Post and Courier Article I mentioned above: