Episode 11: "A War on Blacks...I Mean Drugs" - A Conversation About Drug Policy

March 28, 2018



The governmental and media response to the recent opioid crisis, which rejects the flawed ideology that we can arrest our way out of the problem, stands in stark contrast to our nation’s historical approach to fighting drug abuse.  In this episode, we discuss the roles of race, politics, and class in shaping the conversation around drug abuse in America and the public health versus punitive approaches to solving the problem. Specifically, we discuss historical versus contemporary framing of drug addiction (26:00), our nation’s transition from the War on Poverty to the racialized War on Drugs (29:20), the portrayal of Black Americans and black culture in punitive policy efforts (36:08), the politics and unintended consequences of drug policy (41:35), race and discrepancies in drug sentencing (51:00), the bipartisan nature of punitive drug policy (58:00), the rise in private prisons and mass incarceration (1:01:11), and the role of drug policy in disrupting the black family (1:04:56). We close our conversation by discussing the origins and face of the current opioid crisis, the role of race and class in the public health—rather than punitive—response to drug abuse (1:10:10), equitable ways to address drug abuse in America (1:18:55), and Trump’s three-prong opioid plan (1:21:05). 


Other Topics Include 

00:27 - Catch up with Ty and Daphne 

01:57 - Thoughts on the March for Our Lives Rally 

07:35 - Media Portrayal of the Austin Bomber

10:47 - Thoughts on Sacramento Police Shooting 

15:33 - Clip of Ronald and Nancy Reagan discussing the War on Drugs 

19:04 - Clip of George H.W. Bush discussing the crack epidemic 

20:35 - Clip of Trump discussing the impact of the opioid crisis

24:16 - Introduction of the Topic, “War on Drugs”

40:00 - The Origins and Rise of Crack Cocaine in Communities of Color 

54:30 - Breaking Bad the Portrayal of White Drug Addiction

1:00:15 - Civil Asset Forfeiture 




















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