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And still another evil drug emerges

Long after COVID-19 is just a bad memory, substance abuse will remain a scourge in across Ohio and our very own region. Years from now, the death toll from it will dwarf the number of fatalities from the virus.

We were reminded of the insidious evil of drug abuse last week, when state officials in Ohio added a new drug, isotonitazene, to the list of substances deemed to be illegal and with no medical purpose.

Isotonitazene is one more in a long list of synthetic opioids, drugs created in laboratories. Ingenious criminal chemists specialize in finding new ones, in the hope they will remain legal long enough for their sellers to reap millions in profits. And yes, the drug has been detected in the blood of those who have died of overdoses in Ohio, though it is only recently part of routine testing.

Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, the Hamilton County coroner, expects now to go back to test other samples to see how long the drug has been present, at least in the Cincinnati area.

For now, the focus of our governments seems to be the coronavirus epidemic, and the unrest that has swept the country. The sooner we can make progress on those fronts and get back to waging all-out war on those bent on profiting by poisoning the most vulnerable, struggling members of our society, the better.

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