Opioid addiction is just one component of mass incarceration. In the past several years it has bombarded our daily news feed. We hear about the opioid crisis throughout the United States and different approaches to ending it, creating safe measures to eliminate overdoses or finding ways to help people who have been diagnosed with this condition. This is a major breakthrough because years ago while black and brown people and war veterans were addicted no one really cared. They were sent to prison and jails or just left to die in the streets. I think the conversation is important to address and seriously look at as well as question the people who make our laws in this country. Although measures have been taken to address this epidemic there are still many marginalized groups of addicts denied drug treatment program. This crisis has been around before prescription drug use became prevalent and its still relevant. There are more women being sentenced to prison because of opioid use, whether it’s prescription drugs or heroin and there should be measures during prison and post incarceration to help and assist their needs.
The Women’s prison in Oregon has taken a huge step in addressing the needs of women diagnosed with opioid addiction by creating programs prior to release to ameliorate the recidivism rate from drugs. Every prison should look at this program and model it, or create something similar to support the success of people diagnosed with addiction being released.
If we are going to heal our world we have to start with our communities.
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