In other words, when addiction was seen as a problem that predominantly affected Black and brown communities, the response was to criminalize the issue and incarcerate those participating in it. Now that middle and upper class white families are affected, there’s a push to view the problem as a mental health one and not a criminal one
Who Are We Solving the Heroin Epidemic For?
Britni de la Cretaz
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This has been done with such boldness in New England that I’m surprised no national outcry has been heard. We have small town cops saying, “heroin addiction is a health problem, not a law enforcement problem.” OK, I don’t want to be the one to say “I think we should keep the mandatory sentencing laws in place for a decade so that white New Englanders can experience just how fucked up they were” but it is kind of… mind blowing. Did you see the Rolling Stone Vermont heroin cover? The state flipped out. The same folks that laughed themselves silly watching Dave Chapelle’s “crackhead” character don’t like the fact that they’re on the hot seat now.

In New Hampshire we have a task force, and a new tsar, and a bunch of meetings all devoted to the heroin “epidemic”, but without a broad based tax we have no social workers, mental health programs, or treatment centers. The average wait for someone seeking treatment is something like 45 days.

Up until now I have thought that any attention is good attention, but your article increases my sense of foreboding that we are about to spend our limited resources in the wrong way.

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