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Oct. 22, 2021 – In recent years, Cook said, about 70% of defendants charged with fentanyl-related crimes have been people of color. She said the new Biden plan will worsen those racial disparities in the system.

Kara Gotsch, deputy director of the Sentencing Project, a group that aims to reduce long prison sentences, is also fighting against the new Biden plan.

“It’s not drug kingpins, it’s not traffickers, it’s people on the street who honestly once they’re taken off the street are replaced the next day,” Gotsch said. In a statement, the Office of National Drug Control Policy says the proposal is part of a bigger effort to respond to the overdose epidemic. That includes more money for drug treatment and work to promote research on what works best to curb the epidemic. Acting ONDCP chief Regina LaBelle characterized the plan as a way to take “decisive action against the fastest growing driver of overdoses in the country, while protecting civil rights and encouraging scientific research,” in a news release last month. LaBelle urged lawmakers to fund Biden’s budget request, which includes $10.7 billion to expand access to substance use prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction services.

The ONDCP said its plan is the result of consensus among government scientists at the Department of Health and Human Services and law enforcement agents who work inside the Justice Department.

more@NPR

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