In Plain Sight...Hidden Disparities

The 'hidden' disparity between the general treatment of how the crack cocaine y opioid epidemics have affected society is right in the open...


In the 80s and 90s, Crack ravaged Black y Brown communities w many 'heads of households' ending up in prison for drug-related offenses. An estimated $9.7B spent on new prisons. Rehab was not in the discussion and drug treatment rarely an option. Prison was criminal justice for crack addicts y repeat offenders.

In the past 15-20y, since the escalated use of Meth & other Opioids has ravaged mostly white y rural communities, Rehab y drug treatment are not only in discussion yet the 'preferred' method of criminal justice for these addicts with a proposed $45M being allotted in the latest federal budget.

Why? Is it that time, research, science has taught us that there are psychological & physical components to addiction and unless you treat the reason they became an addict, the behavior continues? We would like to think so except the disparity is still to great...so,

Is it that the disparity has been driven by the same social parameters which look at Black y Brown people and automatically sees criminals or persons unworthy of attention or consideration especially when he/she errs? A system which, when such Black or Brown person becomes an addict, he/she MUST have an 'unfixable' character flaw (weakness, laziness, lack of family structure, etc.) and is therefore undeserving of sympathy or a second (or more) chances?

Or, is it that when it comes to this targeted white population that is currently mostly affected by the opioid epidemic, the demographic is the major concern? A demographic which doesn't seem to be labeled with these same character flaws since their 'addiction', per the current narrative on Capitol Hill is being presented as a 'Healthcare Crisis'...something that is totally 'fixable' with the right amount of 'treatment' and therapy (you know - understanding, love & attention, family & friends around, home cooking -- all those things that the Black y Brown 'addicts' won't get 'rehabbing' in prison.

Why? Because it is mostly affecting disenfranchised white poor/working poor populations and even in the urban communities, it is affecting white populations far greater than any other demographic. And when it comes to criminal justice, the classification of the drug use as a healthcare issue rather than a crime on the level of crack cocaine translates into lighter sentences and drug treatment vice the alternatives faced by people of color for similar offenses.

No, I'm not advocating treatment is the answer for all offenders. There are some violent dealers y traffickers who need to be exactly where they are. I'm just relaying a strong belief that the current system of classification of some drugs as worthy of stern 'criminal' action and not others based on which demographic is using those drugs is criminal itself. If one warrants jail time, so must the other. However, since the human body doesn't know 'race' or 'racism' -- if 'opioids' cause a 'healthcare crises', then so does 'crack cocaine', and the consequences (rehab or jail) for both should be equal (no matter the demographic)... Be consistent.

There's a lot going on which may not make the top of your news feed - some of it by design. Stay Woke y Pay Attention. Don't let all of the loco media distract you from tracking what's REALLY going on. Salaams.

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Cheryl Sudduth
Stand ToGETHER Elected!
United, We Are Change.   
www.cherylsudduth.com
P.O. Box 20122 ~ El Sobrante, CA 94820-0122
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