Intro by Cesar Aguirre
As a recovering addict and reformed Hustla (I’m still a Hustla but only in legit dealings focused on unity and rebuilding community), drug addiction and the incarceration of sick people for “drug crimes” are issues that are very important to me.
As someone who has been through the legal system because of crimes committed stemming from drug and alcohol abuse I can tell you that there is zero support for addicts in the legal system. It really is set up to hold people back and set them up for failure instead of helping people get clean and back on their feet to be productive members of society.
We know that drug addiction affects people of all races,sexes, ages, etc… But it affects each population differently, and we cannot ignore the huge disparities between the incarceration and treatment of minorities and whites.
Wealth or poverty determine whether you get help and rehabilitation, or incarceration and become a slave of the state (http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/08/14/slavery-legal-exception-prisoners-drugs-reform-column/14086227/).
Because people of color make up the majority of those living in poverty we are disproportionately impacted by the failed policies of the “war on drugs” and make up the majority of the prison population even though we are the minority of the total American population.
But now some politicians are seeing the light and are talking differently about addiction and how addicts are perceived, especially since the rise of heroin addiction over the last decade due to the abuse and overuse of prescription Opioids like Oxycodone. (http://tucson.com/news/science/health-med-fit/obama-turns-attention-to-growing-opioid-abuse-problem/article_72acbd41-131d-5d35-9ce6-aeb5c5d9aac4.html)
I have many friends and family strung out Heroin and prescription pills today. I’ve lost many too. Some dead, and a lot doing time.
Because these drugs have been over-prescribed to all people of all colors and class, it has become an epidemic and is being viewed as a humanitarian effort. Not so much because of the number of people affected but because of the type of people being affected.
Check out this interview essay I found on PBS that speaks to exactly that point:
http://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/2365704269“>THERE WAS NO WAVE OF COMPASSION WHEN ADDICTS WERE HOOKED ON CRACK