And we, the U.S. citizens dedicated to eliminating dangerous foreign threats, must push our sleeves up, help destroy stigmas that prevent gaining ground, and unite to fight a common enemy -- opiate drug addiction. Innocent people are being destroyed in the drug trade, and we are obliged to act to help stop the ongoing carnage.
Let me relate a recent news story. Please read it and react. It will most likely make you ill, but it will also give you a taste of reality too horrible to dismiss. After you read this shocking news, please vow to act against escalating heroin addiction.
This week April Corcoran, a 30-year-old woman from Pleasant Plain, in Warren County, Ohio, faces 27 counts, including human trafficking, endangering children, and complicity. She has been indicted on charges she trafficked her 11-year-old daughter for heroin.
Shandell Willingham, 41, the alleged drug dealer, is facing rape charges and other counts in the case.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said at a news conference Monday with state Attorney General Mike DeWine that Corcoran would take her daughter to Willingham in exchange for drugs, then leave her with him and come back later to retrieve her until the next fix.
While Corcoran's daughter stayed with him, Willingham routinely would sexually assault the young girl. On occasion, Corcoran and Willingham ingested the 11-year-old with heroin. Willingham is also accused of videotaping some of these sex acts.
Willingham has been indicted on 26 counts, including rape, gross sexual imposition and human trafficking. Prosecutors said Willingham videotaped some of his sex crimes against the girl.
"As a parent, it is hard to imagine how you could use your child to satisfy your drug addiction," Deters said in a statement. "What this little girl endured is unimaginable, and I can only hope that mom and drug dealer's prosecution, the love and support of her family, and intense counseling will help this child regain some trust in the world."
Authorities said both defendants could face the possibility of life in prison if convicted of all counts.
The indictment alleges that the sex crimes took place from Feb. 15 and June 6 of last year. In June, the girl went to live with her natural father and stepmother, whom she told what had happened, according to prosecutors. Authorities said she continues to live with them. Deters says she is doing "as well as can be expected."
("Ohio Woman Accused of Trafficking Daughter, 11, for Heroin." ABC News. March 23, 2015)
("Woman accused of trafficking 11-year-old daughter for heroin." WLWT-5. March 24, 2015)
We can blame the horrible people in the report. We can blame the demon-like substance that creates such monsters. We can say, "Oh how horrible, but this is an isolated incident." We can read the story and try to forget it while we return to the assumed safety of our life filled with family and friends who "would never commit such unspeakable crimes."
But, we cannot escape reality. That reality is that untreated addicts all over the country -- addicts in our own backyards -- are suffocating not only themselves but also the future of our nation: innocent children. Nothing I can fathom could be more despicable. If we do not improve how we deal with addiction, we will continue to read untold numbers of similar tales that seem too fantastic to believe.
Don't wait to respond with help. Every dawn finds new victims for which help is too late. I think I can hear some think: "I don't have to worry. I'm not a junkie." When you dismiss your actions, just remember a drug-crazed mother handing over her 11-year-old child to the clutches of a 41-year-old sexual predator in exchange for a heroin fix. Can you walk away?