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Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers
Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers

At a recent community meeting, our newly elected prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers spoke briefly on prosecuting dealers when a user overdoses. She described such prosecutions as a powerful tool for ensuring those who peddle poison face consequences. Prosecutions also deter dealers from selling opioids like fentanyl that increase the likelihood of an overdose death.


As reported in the Northwest Signal, accused drug dealer James A. Doan is finding out that she meant every word.


The Prosecutor’s office worked with the Multi-Area Narcotics Task Force on an investigation into the July 11, 2016 overdose death of Wayne Helms of Napoleon. Once elected, Howe-Gebers wasted little time in capitalizing on the investigation and working to remove this threat from our community. The Prosecutor convened a Grand Jury which indicted Doan for reckless homicide on Feb. 22nd. He was arrested in Oakwood Park on March 1st.


Celebrate Success, and Then Do More


Yes, we should commend Prosecutor Howe-Gebers and the Multi-Area Narcotics Task force for removing this threat. We also need to realize that a law and order response will never alone be a sufficient.


President Nixon first announced a ‘War on Drugs’ in 1971. Nearly half a century later, as this fight enters its 46th year, many increasingly understand that a community-wide healthcare response must drive our collective efforts. Focusing on preventing addiction, and offering treatment to those afflicted by addiction, has proven more effective than simply locking up those who abuse drugs. Now, more than ever, we need a fully-funded, robust, and effective healthcare system.


Everyone who pays taxes is affected by the opioid epidemic. Prosecuting dealers like Doan is money well spent. So is offering effective medical treatment for those suffering from addiction.