By Cyntay Royal – The citizens affected by both the crack and the opioid epidemics are pawns for the agenda of the corporations of America at the cost of its citizens.
The history of the crack cocaine v. the opioid epidemic is a clear reminder to us all of the concise racial disparities in legislation, policy, and policing in America. The use of both substances stimulates the brain’s central nervous system and are highly addictive. Crack cocaine is classified as a Schedule II substance. It is a form (cooked) of cocaine but believed to be more potent. The crack cocaine epidemic manufactured a criminal enterprise at the cost of the minority population order to fund the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Army Contras.
The response by legislation to the crack epidemic was stiffer federal sentencing guidelines and the creation of The War on Drugs agenda. The War on Drugs used law enforcement to police substance abuse as crime. Former Vice President Joe Biden introduced the crack to powder 100 to 1 ratio in federal sentencing guidelines into legislation. It was the direct backlash to minority America for its success in the civil and voter rights movements. The bias sentencing guidelines created the for- profit entity of the prison complex and the demand for profit nullified the constitution’s 13th Amendment.
The War on Drugs implicated those subjected to drug abuse as “Public Enemy Number One”. In efforts to keep the criminal narrative forefront, government agencies were created (DEA) to impose strict policies and the enforce measures. The use of crack cocaine was made to be perceived as criminal in nature and provided gateways for the school to prison pipeline, mass incarceration, and created war zones in inner city neighborhoods. The laws and policies made no differentiation between the user and the dealer. Militarization of policing in urban communities imposed the “Tough on Crime” approach making citizens enemies of the state.
Senator John Kerry headed a senate investigation on the IRAN Contra cocaine dealing. The outcome implied that one or more U.S. Government agencies (Central Intelligence Agency) had information and was aware while or shortly thereafter. No indictments or criminal prosecutions were broughlst against any of the officials implicated in the investigation.
Opioids are found in a multitude of substances used in a variety of legal medications and is also the primary component of the street drug heroin. It is a Scheduled Category II Substance. It has become a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical enterprise and is the cause of the worst epidemic in U.S. History. The opioid epidemic is believed to have beebeen caused by the over prescription of medications. The pharmaceutical industry and physicians made the argument that opioids should be used to combat chronic pain in order to improve the quality of life of those affected. Legislation was passed to provide easier access and increase distribution to medical facilities with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
The laws are suggestive implying the use of the substance is less harmful because of the federal policy controlling the manufacturing. The legislation and policy enacted to combat the epidemic for the abuse of opioids is releasing funds to for treatment facilities, methadone clinics, and is not viewed as a criminal manner but health concern. Law enforcement is equipped with medication used to treat the substance abuser (Narcan) from overdose. The authority of abuse is suggestive based off federal control. Keep in mind, both substances opioid and crack reward the central nervous system and are classified as Category II Substances.
Both issues should be treated equally as a public health concern. The government has the knowledge and means to respond to the National Cry of both crisis, but choose to treat them with disparities based on the race of the abuser. The U.S. economy as a whole has been built on the poor, sick, and specifically the black and brown population of its citizens. The social idealogy for abuser in the urban communities are categorized as crimes and are countered with violence, whereas those vastly affected by substance abuse in suburban areas are treated with care as patients. The epidemic of abuse is a crisis that creates avenues for revenue to ensure the under privileged population stay marginalized. The issue is not how unequal the epidemics are being handled, the issue is how the United States has created agencies and organizations to perpetuate the illusion of crisis for profit at the cost of its lower class citizens. The United States is home to 5% of the world’s population but houses 25% of the imprisoned of the world. The United States prison labor is a multi-billion dollar industry that capitalizes off the unjust laws targeting the under privileged.
It is clear the issue at hand is not race, substance abuse or the individual treatments of the epidemics. The concern for us all lie on why the government continues to capitalize and profit off confining and poisoning a particular population through laws and legislation… Ain’t That Genocide.