Racism, Opioids, Executive Order, Trump, Illicit Drugs, Implicit Bias, Drug Laws, Opioid Crisis, Opioid Epidemic, Health Crisis, Public Health, Incarceration, Drug Addiction
Within the past century, the United States attempted different legal
avenues to address drug abuse. Some of these efforts made access
to drugs punishable and illegal. Others encouraged research to look
at underlying issues of drug abuse and implement those findings.
Within the past fifty years, these laws tended to treat drug addicts
as criminals instead of as persons suffering from a health crisis.
According to the FBI and Uniform Crime Reports, from the 1980’s
to the 2000’s, drug arrests rose by 1.5 million per year, while drug
usage rates stayed the same.3 The severe increase in the criminalization
and incarceration surrounding drug exploited underprivileged
minorities, specifically persons of color. Lawsuits and lobbying
brought attention to these injustices. However, a heavy bias in drugrelated
crime still persists. The penalization of drug crime historically
has been a vehicle for implicit and explicit racism.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wilson, Hannah L.A.S.
"Underlying Racism within the Opioid Epidemic,"
Brigham Young University Prelaw Review: Vol. 34, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byuplr/vol34/iss1/7