A slew of viral videos in recent weeks reveal the devastating effects of America’s drug abuse epidemic.

In one, an Ohio grandmother and her friend slump unconscious in the front seats of an SUV after an opiate overdose. Behind them a toddler is strapped into a child seat. In another video, a mother at a Family Dollar store in Massachusetts lies motionless on the floor while her young child cries by her side.

In perhaps the most disturbing, an elderly couple in Memphis lie on the sidewalk, arms and legs akimbo, as onlookers stand by gawking or laughing and making fun of them.

It’s not only poor inner-city minorities or unemployed whites in Appalachia who struggle with drug addiction. Research underscores just how pervasive such episodes are. The odds of 18 to 25 year-olds becoming addicted to opioids increased by more than a third between 2002 and 2014. It more than doubled for 26- to 34-year-olds. In that same timespan, heroin use rose 350 percent for 18- to 25-year-olds and 600 percent for 26- to 34-year-olds.

A society increasingly hooked on drugs is on a bad path, especially as those not hooked are increasingly inured to the plight of those afflicted. The man who shot the viral video in Memphis said he felt it wasn’t his place to help the incapacitated couple. Others in the video say there’s no use in helping them because they’re probably dead. Actually, they lived.

In July, President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which authorizes the giving of grants for treatment programs, training for first responders, and money to help inter-agency cooperation.

The legislation, which passed 407 to 5 in the House and 92 to 2 in the Senate, was one of few recent bills with broad bipartisan support. Fully implementing the new law must be a bipartisan priority.

Even as polls suggest public attitudes toward drug use is becoming more lax, the recent viral videos remind us of why drugs are illegal. They destroy lives and devastate communities. They should be treated as the public menace that they are.

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