John Gotti is a name with which we’re all doubtlessly familiar. While the family whose name has become synonymous with organized crime-due to the actions and affiliations of their patriarch-they have managed to stay out of the headlines for the last few years—until now. Last week John Gotti, the 23-year-old grandson of the famed crime leader of the same name, was arrested after police raided his Howard Beach home and found more than 500 oxycodone pills and nearly $50,000 in cash. Gotti, his girlfriend and five others are being charged in a ring dealing oxycodone and other controlled pharmaceuticals in Howard Beach and Ozone Park during the last 12 months. Police called the investigation “Operation Beach Party.”
Gotti is now sitting in Riker’s Island where he is seeking out treatment for painkiller addiction. He has stated in a candid interview that he attributes his addiction to opioids to the pressures of his family name and the reality show “Growing Up Gotti” that focused on his family and lasted for three seasons. Putting aside Gotti’s notoriety, the scope and influence of his and all other narcotics traffickers’ influences have direct impact on communities well beyond their own. Eventually is spills into areas in which many don’t have the same access to treatment as Gotti and his more affluent associates.
The reality is that, while local and federal officials are correctly focusing their attention on expanding treatment resources, enforcement should still be very much be a part of the addiction prevention equation. It’s important that substance abuse is dealt with on a multilateral level, including cutting it off at the source and making sure traffickers pay a hefty legal price. There has undoubtedly been a disproportionate rate of incarceration for non-violent drug offenders; however we can allow that to cloud our perception and legal management of traffickers.