Punitive Enforcement Does Not Save Lives, Or Reduce Drug Supply
When it comes to drugs—that is to say, when it comes to drugs whose use by some people in some contexts is officially deemed illicit—to suggest any other approach than criminalization is to be told you aren’t “taking the issue seriously.” That any response not involving jail, prison, loss of livelihood, family separation, is widely deemed, essentially, a non-response is indication of an impoverished state of conversation. But is that changing? Some pushback to the White House policy addressing fentanyl suggests that there is space for a new way to talk about drugs, and harm, and ways forward. Maritza Perez Medina is the director of the Office of Federal Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.