Dewine trying a different approach to drugs

Ohioans may remember that while serving as the attorney general, Mike DeWine said of the drug abuse epidemic: “We can’t arrest our way out of this.”

Now, DeWine is governor and he wants to put the state’s money where his mouth is — with a well thought-out, comprehensive campaign against substance abuse. He outlined it during his State of the State speech.

DeWine wants a new “Narcotics Intelligence Center” to help law enforcement in the battle against drug pushers.

But he also envisions substance abuse prevention education from kindergarten through 12th grade. He wants more money for addiction and mental health treatment, with local officials deciding how to use it. He seeks more specialized courts, some to help drug defendants rather than just punish them. He wants more money for services to help children affected by the drug crisis.

He wants it all — and in this situation, that is a compliment.

Can the state afford it?

Can it afford not to do a better job in battling the drug scourge?