Steve Lodle: A drug dealer that is too big to jail


Published: Monday, June 24, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11:15 p.m.

Recently The Sun ran a story about the racial imbalance of marijuana arrests in this area.

Another story described how the Walgreen Company agreed to pay $80 million to resolve federal charges that it failed to properly control the sales of narcotic painkillers at some of its outlets. Some of these drugs, such as OxyContin, are involved in 16,000 overdose deaths annually.

Although this is the largest fine ever paid by a pharmacy chain, it is a paltry amount compared to Walgreen's 2012 sales of $72 billion.

With a fine that is one-tenth of 1 percent of sales, it can be viewed as the price of doing business.

When it is routine to jail tens of thousands of people for minor drug crimes at a huge social cost and taxpayer burden, why does the Drug Enforcement Administration choose to seek only civil and not criminal penalties against Walgreens?

Why is there a different kind of justice for the nation's biggest pharmacy operator?

As a supporter of the capitalist economic system, I cringe when I see it being abused by allowing leniency for the moneyed interests.

It is only when we seek jail time for crimes committed by the big drug dispensers, the polluters, the corrupt bankers and the financial-system abusers that we will see real change in major problems confronting our nation.

We must demand that our prosecutors go after those "too big to jail" with penalties that will genuinely deter their crimes.

Steve Lodle lives in Brooker.

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