Handle deadly drug pushers severely

No one beats the chemists who concoct illegal drugs in introducing “new and improved” products to the marketplace. Their greatest accomplishment during recent years appears to have been manufacturing ever-more deadly drugs.

A new one, “gray death,” is being seen in some states. It already has been blamed for overdose deaths in Ohio.

“Gray death” is a mixture of heroin, fenanyl, carfentanil and a synthetic opioid labeled U-47700.

What happens when a pusher is caught peddling “gray death” or one of probably dozens of other concoctions being sold to heroin addicts? In all likelihood, the pusher faces roughly the same penalties he would if he had been dealing in straight heroin.

Authorities in some areas of Ohio have begun seeking much more severe punishment for pushers who sell drugs that result in overdose deaths. That is appropriate. Pushers understand they are placing their customers at great risk.

A similar approach should be taken to pushers and drug manufacturers involved with “gray death” or other deadly inventions. They know their customers are more likely to be harmed than if they had been sold unadulterated heroin.

Selling any type of illicit drugs is a vicious trade. But pushing a substance so lethal it is called “gray death” is even worse. Law enforcement officers and judges should use whatever tools are at their disposal to handle that type of offender with the severity that surely is deserved.