The Death of Prince May Shed Some Light on the Drug Epidemic in America
By: Bill O'ReillyApril 22, 2016
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The nation is mourning the 57-year-old pop star who sold 100 million albums in his career.

I never met Prince, but I saw him perform and he was spectacular.

Many reports say that he was a nice guy and certainly deserves the accolades he is getting.

Out of respect for Prince's family, we will not delve into his personal situation but there are reports that he was drug involved.

And that leads us to an epidemic in America that is largely out of control -- yet the powerful are running away from it.

The essential problem is a combination of prescription painkillers - things like Percocet, which Prince may have been using after an operation - and OxyContin.

Those legal drugs have addicted millions and now we have a flood of cheap heroin, another opioid sweeping through the nation.

The stats are grim:

In 2014, more than 28,000 Americans died from opioid-overdoses, a record level.

That led to a 200% increase in overdose fatalities since the year 2000.

According to the federal government, from 2013 to 2014 heroin use among Americans rose 51%.

That is catastrophic in one year.

So there's no question the epidemic is under way, and few people understand how severe it is and what to do about it:

From the ABC News special "Heroin Across America" 

FATHER: "Five o'clock in the morning I'm boarding a plane in Dallas airport.  And my son Ben calls me and he says, dad, Aaron overdosed again.  And I said, whoa whoa, what do you mean?  He says, Aaron overdosed again.  And I automatically was thinking, okay, what hospital is he at?  Where did they take him?  And he says, he didn't make it."

Over the years there have been literally millions of stories like that.

And it is simply stunning that our culture has evolved to a point where the sale and use of hard narcotics is now acceptable.

President Obama has led the way on this, classifying drug dealing as a quote "nonviolent crime."

That sends a signal to the country that, you know what, it may be illegal to sell drugs but it's not all that bad.

And the left is generally supporting the craziness. 

O'REILLY: "Is selling heroin and crack on the street a violent crime?"

RUSSELL SIMMONS, HIP-HOP MOGUL: "What I'm saying is -"

O'REILLY:"That's an easy question. Can you answer that question?"

SIMMONS: "But 95 percent of the people who are incarcerated -"

O'REILLY:"Am I invisible? Are you not hearing me?  Are you not hearing me?"

SIMMONS: "I don't think selling drugs is a violent crime."

Again, that is the prevailing wisdom on the left.

And on the use side there is no judgment either.

The legalization of pot is now favored by the majority of Americans.

And although marijuana is not even close to heroin and other hard drugs in destructive capacity, again pot acceptance sends a signal.

When I grew up in Levittown, a suburb of New York City, heroin and other hard drugs were rare until the Vietnam War.

Then some vets in my neighborhood returned from Southeast Asia addicted to heroin, called horse back then.

However, anyone who sold hard drugs was a pariah, an outcast, a vile human being.

And those who used drugs also were stigmatized, at least for a while, until the sex, drugs, and rock and roll culture kicked in -- the "If it feels good, do it" philosophy taking root.

The damage the drug acceptance brought was enormous.  A few of my friends are dead.  Others spent time in jail.

Today the drug culture is running wild in America.

And the vicious cartels, largely operating out of Mexico, are taking full advantage of that.

Tons of hard drugs come across the Mexican border.  Everybody knows that.  Yet the Democratic Party does not want a wall or to militarize the border.

And if you are arrested for selling heroin or other opioids, chances are you will not get serious prison time until you're caught five or six times.

So, you can see the permissive atmosphere surrounding the use of narcotics is now taking a very serious toll on this country.

Pretty much every American knows some family that's been grossly harmed by drug use.

It is long past time for powerful people to stop enabling the drug culture.

The use of pot by children is an atrocity.

The addictive capacities of heroin and other painkillers are enormous.

Once a person becomes drug-involved, his or her whole life is negatively affected.

Yet where are the anti-drug crusaders?

They are mocked by many in the media.

They are dismissed on college campuses.

They are seen as uncool by many in this culture.

Nancy Reagan's message was simple: "Just say no."

The message today is, it doesn't matter if you say yes, you're a victim and the thugs who provide the poison are low-level offenders who should not be harshly punished.

This is disgraceful and shameful.  The drug culture is not a positive in any way for this country or for any citizen in it.

We are reaping what our cowardly leaders have sown - a drug epidemic that cuts across all boundaries.

That's the message that should be loud and clear in the media.

People selling hard drugs, they are not non-violent offenders.  They are killing the weak and addicted at a historically high rate.

Countries like Singapore have stopped the madness by instituting tough anti-drug policies at all levels.

But the West will not do that and so the carnage will continue.

And that's the memo.

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