God bless Johann Hari, everything he writes is the most erudite and prudent commentary on the so-called “opioid crisis”, and this one is another good one.
is a coherent story, put forward by serious and thoughtful people. But
there are some key facts that don’t fit. Here’s one: Doctors in many
parts of the world — including Canada and some European countries —
prescribe far more powerful opiates than their peers in the United
States. There, if you get hit by a car and you break your hip, you’ll
likely be given diamorphine (the medical name for heroin) to manage your
pain. Some people take it for long periods. If what we’ve been told is
right, they should become addicted in huge numbers.But
this doesn’t occur. the Canadian Journal of Medicine summarized the
best evidence, explaining, “there was no significant risk of addiction, a
finding common to all studies.”“
Political prisoner Leonard Peltier once wrote, “When you grow up Indian, you don’t have to become a criminal, you already are a criminal.” Through the drug trade, U.S. government has effectively marketed the policing and imprisonment of minorities as the key to public safety, and therefore marked them as targets of state terror. This unearths how Native men can be incarcerated at four times the rate of white men, how Native women can be incarcerated at six times the rate of white women. It demonstrates how the flooding of crack cocaine into Black communities during the ’70s correlated with a sharp increase in minimum sentencing laws that helped put 1.7 million Black people under some form of correctional control. It reveals how native Hawaiians, who represent just 20 percent of the state’s population, can comprise 40 percent of the its incarcerated. […] Indeed, of minorities and the poor it fashions enemies of the state with the intent to exercise terror. From the origins of police, to the school-to-prison-pipeline, to the vast network of U.S. incarceration, this has been the enduring legacy of the American judicial system — not safety, and certainly not justice.