Repeat Drug Dealers Require Additional Jail Time

The battle against heroin locally requires added attention, particularly in light of disturbing statistics regarding a Big Tree Road residence.

The property and its owner have pestered Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John Bentley for decades, but 12 recent overdoses at the house sparked an outcry at the Busti Town Board meeting Monday. First responders have revived one person four times with Narcan at the residence, where police recently seized 40 guns and found 18 people inside.

Bentley noted the owner’s arrest record includes charges related to LSD, heroin and crack cocaine. “The state of New York is condoning heroin,” Bentley said, telling The Post-Journal the Empire State should bolster mental health programs.

Clearly New York must focus on battling addiction. Chautauqua County ranks near the top statewide for heroin death and addiction rates, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Rick Huber, Mental Health Association executive director, discussed eight recent opioid overdose deaths in Jamestown at a vigil for a victim last week.

A supportive housing program at WCA Hospital’s Jones Memorial Health Center, aided by a $350,000 capital grant, will help upon approval of operational funding. New residential treatment beds, announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, could save numerous lives if a Chautauqua County provider manages to secure the $2 million in funding up for grabs in Upstate New York.

At some point, though, we need to lock up repeat drug dealers and throw away the key.

Police and other first responders have done an excellent job of reviving overdose victims and tracking down dealers for arrest after arrest. However, a residence doesn’t become a drug-ridden cesspool by chance. When a career criminal can repeatedly host parties where people straddle the line of life and death, the judicial system and the state of New York have failed our communities.