Other than the lies streaming out of President Donald Trump’s White House, few things have bothered me more than Lake County Councilman Eldon Strong’s opposition to investigating heroin overdoses.

Strong twice has opposed hiring someone to gather heroin overdose data to help the county come to grips with the problem.

Making Strong’s stand even more bewildering is that he is a retired Crown Point police officer. Maybe there wasn’t any heroin in Crown Point back then. There’s lots of it today. And it’s killing our kids and young adults.

Despite Strong’s opposition, the Lake County Council last week approved Coroner Merrilee Frey’s request to hire someone to collect and analyze data on overdoses and deaths. It will cost the county $15 per hour, three days a week. That’s a small price to pay to help save lives.

Despite the support of Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Director Charles Porucznik and Sheriff John Buncich for Frey’s request, Strong said he thought it was a duplication of services.

I find Strong’s opposition hard to buy given that heroin deaths are more prevalent in suburbia than in Lake County’s northern cities. So do others.

Schererville Police Chief David Dowling has hooked up his department with an area treatment center for those who want help. No questions asked.

Other Region police departments are doing so as well.

Buncich — a couple years ago — pulled together a four-county heroin task force. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive as much state funding as it should have.

Griffith Police Chief Greg Mance has done the same.

“Unfortunately, it seems we as a nation are a step behind in addressing heroin addiction and other addictions,” Mance said in announcing a new treatment program.

And state Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, while speaking in LaPorte recently, said, “We’re in the fight, in the war to kill heroin, (and) are working on it every day.”

This heroin situation is scary. It is cheap, readily available and kills. It’s not going to go away on its own.

It’s encouraging to see people like Dowling, Mance and Merritt taking heroin seriously. It’s too bad Strong isn’t joining the fight.

For decades, people turned their backs on the drug. Heroin addicts — so the thinking went — were low-life people living in flop houses in the inner cities. Who should care?

Now they are living next door, and suddenly their lives seem to matter — at least to most.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjamescolumns@gmail.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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