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Biden’s synthetic opioid program has the potential to widen racial inequality, activists say: NPR

Tablets that appear to contain fentanyl will be on display at the Drug Enforcement Department in New York in 2019. The Biden administration will crack down on the abuse of synthetic opioids by categorizing them into the most restricted categories or “schedule.” Law.

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Tablets that appear to contain fentanyl will be on display at the Drug Enforcement Department in New York in 2019. The Biden administration will crack down on the abuse of synthetic opioids by categorizing them into the most restricted categories or “schedule.” Law.

Don Emart / AFP via Getty Images

Nearly 100 civil rights and criminal justice reform groups are protesting Biden administration’s proposal It potentially tightens the imprisonment for certain synthetic opioids and warns that it will exacerbate the racial disparity already in the system.

Biden’s proposal would put many drugs chemically related to fentanyl permanently into the most restricted category or “schedule” under the law.

“Since the beginning of the drug war, African-Americans and Latino-Americans have been blamed for a coercive-first approach,” said Sakira, who closely tracks the issues of the Citizens and Human Rights Leadership Council. Cook said.

In recent years, Cook said that about 70% of the defendants charged with fentanyl-related crimes are of color. She said the new Biden program would exacerbate those racial disparities in the system.

Kara Gotsch, deputy director of the Sentencing Project, a group aimed at reducing long-term imprisonment, also opposes the new Biden program.

“It’s not the king of drugs, it’s not a trafficker. It’s the people on the street who are honestly replaced the next day after being taken out of the street,” Gotch said.

The group outlined their concerns In a letter to parliamentary leaders on Friday..

Administration’s response to criticism

In a statement, the State Administration of Drug Control Policy states that the proposal is part of a greater effort to respond to the overdose epidemic. This includes more money for drug treatment and work to facilitate research on what is most effective in controlling the epidemic.

ONDCP said the plan was the result of a consensus between government scientists at the Department of Health and Human Services and law enforcement agencies working within the Department of Justice.

The proposal is a “safety valve” that allows judges to surrender or reduce their sentence if those convicted of certain crimes related to fentanyl-type substances are later removed from the most restricted list. Was pointed out to be included.

Activists claim it’s the wrong approach

Criminal justice reformers say the approach is resentful because they cannot explain the fact that convicted people can spend years in prison and lose access to work, housing, and their families. Stated.

“The approach of prosecuting first and asking questions later is wrong and useless until it’s too late,” said Cook at the Leadership Council.

Many criminal defendants lose access to scientific and legal resources after being convicted. In addition, the proponent’s letter described the case of Todd Coleman, an Ohio man who was forced to imprisonment for 10 years for distributing fentanyl-type substances. The court later shortened his ruling to three years after admitting that none of the drugs were strictly restricted substances, dangerous or illegal.

“If you’re going to send someone to jail, the government is responsible for knowing what they’re sending someone to jail and shouldn’t ask questions after they’ve already prosecuted the individual,” Gotch said. rice field.

What will happen next

The White House and Congress want to act by January 28th. That is when the current regulations, including fentanyl-type drugs, expire.

However, the Narcotics Policy Coalition wants Congressional leaders to consider twice the country’s experience with the strict cocaine law of the 1980s and 1990s.

“This is a problem today, but it’s a repeat of our past, and we don’t want this administration or any other administration to continue making the same mistakes as in the past, so I’d like to make a new chart. The road to. “

In deeply divided parliament, crackdowns on opioids and other synthetic drugs are one of the few areas of bipartisan consensus.

Biden’s synthetic opioid program has the potential to widen racial inequality, activists say: NPR

Source link Biden’s synthetic opioid program has the potential to widen racial inequality, activists say: NPR

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