Granite Hammer is making impact

Here are a few headlines to ponder:

• Operation Granite Hammer nets four drug-related arrests.

• Nashua police arrest 22 for drug crimes in Granite Hammer crackdown.

• Granite Hammer nets four drug arrests in Portsmouth.

Despite headlines like this, there has been some skepticism among legislators about the program that was designed as a multi-layered crackdown on drug dealing in New Hampshire.

One could argue, of course, that the program hasn’t been a “complete success” because, after all, there is still drug dealing here and not just in our cities, but in some of our towns. Any local police officer will tell you that.

We would argue that any operation that puts pressure upon the drug trade is better than no program and given the continuing number of headlines in our sister publication, The Telegraph of Nashua, referring to drug arrests via Granite Hammer, this program is far, far better than nothing.

Indeed, the more arrests that are made, the more the greater impact upon the drug trade. If major suppliers can’t move their drugs because their local dealers keep getting rounded up and their drugs confiscated, it makes New Hampshire a less attractive place to do their dirty business.

That the program is a cooperative effort among local and state police and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency makes it more widely effective, although neither we nor anyone else would be willing to posit that this state will every eradicate the scourge of drugs. Neither will any other. There is too much money to be made by suppliers and too many people willing to be victims. Trying to figure out why is an exercise in futility, more’s the pity. If we could get to the root causes, there might be hope.

Of course, in many of the cases, the root causes involve poverty, poor education, no meaningful work and a general state of hopelessness. Combating those takes the kind of determination and resources that governments are often loathe to fund.

And that is where programs like an upcoming benefit at Wilton’s High Mowing School come in. On Sunday, the school on Abbot Hill Road will sponsor “Coffee and Cantata,” part of its Music on the Hill Concert Series, this one to support the work of the Wilton Police Department’s actions against the opioid crisis.

According to a story in last week’s Cabinet, the school choose to support the Wilton efforts because the police are first responders to the problem and the program is in recognition of the ongoing struggles in many towns, a crisis that Gov. Chris Sununu has called “the biggest health crisis the state has ever had.”

People are dying and, sure, the less sympathetic among us could say that they have brought this upon themselves, using the mantra, “Nobody forced them to take drugs.” Well, no, and nobody forced a lot of other people to drink and drive but we have many programs to help those with drinking issues, including forcing those arrested on drinking and driving infractions to lose their licenses and to pay to attend remedial classes about the dangers of alcohol and driving.

How, though, do we help the recurring drug user? Usually we put him, and often her, in jail, in some states even for a first offense. Yet even in New Hampshire, people with multiple drinking and driving arrests often do not get sentenced. Some do, of course, but how often do we read about the person with five or six such arrests who is still on the road? Oh, we took away her license, but, you know, she drove anyway.

Right now, Operation Granite Hammer is at least making an effort, and so are many local police departments, including Wilton. If you’d like to help attend the High Mowing concert on Jan. 28 between 4 and 5 p.m. Just like every Granite Hammer arrest, ever little bit we do helps.