Nov. 20, 2021 – The consequences of this racist motivation have been huge. Studies consistently show that minorities have been disproportionately targeted and incarcerated for drug possession. A specific example was the longer sentences for crack (vs. powdered) cocaine possession in the 1980s. Incarceration contributes to multigenerational poverty. Not only does a person lose personal income by being incarcerated and paying related judicial costs, but also the entire family loses income and parental involvement. We need better ways of helping people with addiction, but within the context of drug laws, addiction is a red herring misdirecting attention from much greater harm. Addiction also is used as a red herring for the unhoused (addiction is a symptom, not a cause). It’s harder to afford housing when you can’t get a job because of a drug arrest. Another red herring is violence. From Prohibition to drug cartels, the vast majority of drug-related violence is due to the illegality of drugs, not their use.


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