Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance’s Black History Month Series Visionary, Talks Owning Our Narratives [Retracted]

RETRACTED (6/12/18):

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DISCUSSION

So, I work in substance use services for a non-profit. In the past few years, as the opioid crisis has come to the forefront of national dialogue about drugs, there has been a significant shift in the way America talks about substance use. That is to say, substance use is all of a sudden something that we need to solve. Of course it is, but substance use and addiction has been around longer than young white kids popping prescription opioids. As the opioid crisis has affected traditionally white communities there has been an increase in federal and state funding to combat the opioid crisis.

If you don’t know this, opioid use can lead to heroin use because heroin is a lot cheaper (and sometimes easier to get than a prescription). Heroin use has ravaged and destroyed communities of color for several decades. But it wasn’t an issue until it started affecting white communities. Let’s not kid ourselves here and think that whitewashing also doesn’t affect social services. It absolutely does.

My organization serves primarily low-income people of color, mostly men. Black men receive harsher sentences than their white counterparts, no matter if its their first offense or not. I see it all the time.