New Drug Measure Focuses on Public Health

Prison bars
Via Navajo Times
William Anderson
November 9, 2020

The so-called “war on drugs” has destroyed Black communities and is a MAJOR reason for mass incarceration. Politicians created racist policies that harshly punished Black people suffering from addiction, criminalizing a public health issue. Now, finally, that’s changing!

While countless Black people sit in prison for selling weed or for using drugs, a few states are considering more leniency. Some do this with economic motivations and others rightfully acknowledge this is a public health issue – but one state took it even further.

During the 2020 election, voters in Oregon chose to decriminalize ALL drugs, including cocaine and heroin! This removes criminal penalties like prison time for possession of small amounts. While some may be confused by this, it’s actually more logical than punitive responses.

Policing and prisons DON’T stop drug use or fight addiction. Stigma also hasn’t helped anyone – but science has. Decriminalization has been shown to remove barriers to healthcare, rehabilitation services, and harm reduction.

Many other countries, and even the United Nations, acknowledge that decriminalization works. It even decreases the transmission of HIV!

This is huge considering these issues disproportionately harm Black people – but we need MORE states to do it and also address how much harm the “war on drugs” has done to us!

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