Alexis Wilkins

Just in case Colorado lawmakers toiling at the Capitol missed the news earlier this week: An arrest has been made in the case of a high school student in Colorado Springs who died in December from a fentanyl overdose — at school.

She took the drug in a restroom at Mitchell High and, by all accounts, lapsed into a coma as she sat in class. She was pronounced dead at a hospital after paramedics couldn’t revive her.

Though the tragic incident occurred a few months ago, the case came to light Wednesday when the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the arrest on Tuesday of the alleged drug dealer who stands accused of supplying the deadly dose. An arrest affidavit alleges Alexis Nicole Wilkins, 26, gave two girls fentanyl pills in the parking lot of a Colorado Springs mall on Dec. 2. They took the pills to school the next morning, sharing one with the classmate who overdosed.

According to the affidavit, Wilkins is a known drug dealer and street-gang member — who peddled her product on Facebook.

Yet, even as the lethal narcotic’s death toll continues to climb, ruling Democrats in the legislature continue to drag their feet. Despite demands they re-criminalize possession of fentanyl — after they decriminalized it three years ago in the name of “justice reform” — lawmakers are bobbing and weaving. They’re splitting hairs and talking in circles in a last-ditch attempt to preserve their handiwork, for fear of upsetting their party’s criminal-coddling fringe.

The politician who introduced the 2019 legislation, Denver Democratic state Rep. Leslie Herod, has been ducking responsibility entirely — insisting blithely to our news affiliate Colorado Politics that her decriminalization bill hasn’t played a role in the state’s fentanyl epidemic.

In a misguided attempt to provide cover to the likes of Herod, a letter scripted by the soft-on-crime Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and signed by assorted other advocacy groups Wednesday called on lawmakers, incredibly, not to re-criminalize fentanyl possession.

"For decades, Colorado attempted to prevent addiction and overdose deaths by giving people felony records and prison sentences for low-level drug possession offenses," the letter states, claiming the old approach was, “ineffective and counterproductive.”

That’s not only wrong but in fact misses the point entirely. The highest priority of our justice system should be to protect the public. Whether or not the state can “prevent addiction” in the process can be important, but the first order of business is to keep everyone else safe from the drugs that addicts use and, often enough, wind up peddling to support their own habit.

Herod’s 2019 legislation made possession of up to four grams of fentanyl — which can kill up to 2,000 people — a misdemeanor. Police as a result only can issue a ticket.

Even if you accept the willful naïveté of lawmakers who pretend that someone in “possession” of two or three grams of such a super-potent substance doesn’t intend to sell some of it, its mere presence in someone’s backpack is a public menace. Empowering police to get it, and its owner, off the street ASAP makes everyone safer.

Indeed, wouldn’t most sensible Coloradans prefer that someone be arrested for possession — rather than wind up dead, or killing someone else?

What if the woman accused of selling fentanyl to the girls in Colorado Springs could have been arrested — even if only for possession — just before that fateful day?

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