Rev. Susan K. Smith

Rev. Susan K. Smith

(GEORGE CURRY MEDIA)—I find it difficult to listen to all of the outpouring of concern for the phenomenon of opiate drug addiction, with politicians expressing their desire to find help for these young people before they overdose, and to keep them from destroying their lives, their families lives …and their communities.

There was never such an outpouring of concern for those addicted to crack cocaine, no expressed worry about what incarcerating non-violent drug offenders would do to individuals, families and communities. No, in contrast, politicians declared a “war” on drugs, intimating that it was the duty of “the law” to defeat the enemy. That enemy was not the drugs, per se, but those who were unfortunate enough to become addicted. Unfortunately, most of the people who were thrown into prison for crack cocaine addiction were Black, Brown and poor people.

Drug addiction has always been a part of society—all societies. People resort to drug use when they feel hopeless, when poverty overwhelms them, when they see no way out. There are certainly physiological factors that go into becoming addicted, but it seems that the threat of drug addiction is highest when individuals feel like there is no way out of their despair.

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