Thursday December 3, 2020
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Kentucky, Your Drug Epidemic Has a Name and a Face: Meet JonMarianne Skolek-Perez Salem-News.com Investigative Reporter
Jon is not a statistic; he is a victim of failed justice.
(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - By way of introduction: Kentucky, this was Jon. He was a son, a father and a brother. He was loved by family and friends.
On July 27, 2018 Jon died in a drug ravaged town in Butler County, Kentucky where the words "empowerment", "prevention", "education" and "treatment" are not used. Jon died of a drug overdose.
The deaths have become a matter of daily routine and accepted -- even by law enforcement. Why investigate the cause of death or who provided the drug(s) that ultimately kill residents of war torn towns in Kentucky? There will only be another "Jon" dying tomorrow and the next day and the day after.
Jon's sister does not want him to become a death statistic in Kentucky. She wants the Kentucky Attorney General and law enforcement to clean up the third-world country appearance of towns in Kentucky.
She wants investigations into pharmacies and physicians providing and dispensing dangerous opioids like OxyContin to patients who sell their pills and make money off it.
She wants to know why this epidemic in Kentucky is a tale of "the haves and the have not." She wants to know why law enforcement did not write any information down as she was asking for an investigation into Jon's death.
She was told that many known to be involved in the drug distribution channel were brought into the Sheriff's office, but no arrests were made.
Jon's sister wants answers -- and is entitled to answers -- as are the thousands of other families who have lost loved ones in drug torn counties like Butler, Kentucky.
Maybe Kentucky needs to start with getting answers for Jon's death from the prior Attorney General of Kentucky, Jack Conway. Conway settled with the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma a few years ago for a mere $24 million.
At the time, Purdue Pharma was worth approximately $30 billion. Someone want to tell Jon's sister and other families ravaged by OxyContin aka "Hillbilly Heroin" in Kentucky what $24 million did to abate the drug epidemic? Someone also want to tell Jon's sister that former AG Conway left office to work for a law firm whose client was Purdue Pharma?
Police and prosecutors in Kentucky are using the "involuntary manslaughter" charge to deter drug dealers when they have evidence implicating a drug dealer in the death of a buyer.
The Butler County Prosecutor has used the involuntary manslaughter charge several times, but indicated he needs to prove it and that could be a real problem because the buyer is dead.
Witnesses to the drug deal? That could work, but it will take a concerted effort by law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of the drug buyer to take the dealer off the streets of Butler County, Kentucky.
Jon will not be remembered as a statistic in the drug deaths ravaging Kentucky. Neither will the thousands of other victims of drug deaths in Kentucky. They will be known for having justice fail them as the drug dealers continue business as usual -- and the body bags mount.
Rest in peace Jon. You were loved by many -- especially your family and friends and your life mattered.
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