War On Drugs Research Paper
States that have liberalized their marijuana laws have done so to close these racial disparities, as well as to save on associated criminal justice costs.Legalizing substance use is one consideration to begin treating drug misuse as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice one.There is robust debate about how to reduce the punitive aspects of drug courts, but today, policymakers and the public alike are increasingly adopting approaches that treat substance misuse as a health issue rather than a criminal justice one.Unlike the justice system, which tends to place more emphasis on punishment than on treatment, harm reduction approaches focus on improving the well-being of all individuals and aim to reduce the risks associated with substance misuse.To stem the tide of this crisis, some communities are doubling down on the war on drugs, despite clear evidence that increasing arrests and incarceration does not lower drug use.But an increasing number of cities are bucking the trend and adopting models that treat substance misuse as a disease, not a crime.
In 2016, more than half a million people were arrested for marijuana violations.
Syringe access programs are one example of harm reduction programming that has gained traction in recent years.
Sometimes referred to as needle exchanges, syringe access services provide people with sterile injection equipment to reduce the incidence of syringe sharing—a risky practice linked to transmission of bloodborne infections.
These strategies are underway in red and blue states alike, representing promising steps toward dismantling the country’s failed drug policy agenda.
The rise of public support for harm reduction strategies cannot be separated from the fact that white Americans have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, though black communities are increasingly experiencing its effects.