On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, in Fairfield, Ohio, an upper middle class suburb of Cincinnati, nineteen-year-old Julien Slaven was murdered in what police referred to as a “drug deal gone bad.” Four people are under arrest in the incident, two of whom are young women with no criminal history.

In my experience, home invasion robberies are invariably connected to the illegal drug market. Oftentimes, word gets out that a particular dealer has just taken a delivery of a shipment, thus making them a target of competitors or other violent individuals seeking an easy score. Victims in these cases have little recourse. They can hardly involve the authorities and to protect their business, they must violently retaliate against those they believe ripped them off. Failure to retaliate marks them as an easy target who will be repeatedly victimized. And the violent cycle continues.

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Howard Rahtz is the author of Drugs, Crime and Violence: From Trafficking to Treatment. He is active in speaking on police and drug issues, is a member of the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and his blog can be viewed a HowardRahtz.com.