DRUG ADDICTION IS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE THAT BURDENS US ALL


July 25, 2016, I remember the anticipation I had felt that day, looking forward to hearing the speakers on the first day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. I was excited at the possibility of seeing a woman become president of the United States and wanted to be part of the movement. That excitement quickly turned into outrage and disappointment. As I sat glued to my television, I began hearing content that evening heavily focused on the atrocity that drugs have plagued on the white suburban middle-class and how there needed to be more funding for rehabilitation. Wait, what??? Is the widespread drug addiction that has plagued communities of color for generations irrelevant? The only solutions offered to communities of color were laws designed to punish addicts with mandatory jail or prison sentences that drove dramatic incarceration rates and tore families apart. In addition to, the wide distribution of a legal narcotic called Methadone that provided hefty profits for pharmaceutical companies and did nothing to solve the drug problem in these communities.

Drug abuse affects people of all races, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It does not discriminate, and solutions to end this problem should be driven by its impact on humanity regardless of race. There are many other societal issues affecting the poor that can be addressed if we tackle this problem with unified plans and solutions that benefit all people. There is a direct correlation to addiction and homelessness. A survey by the United States Conference of Mayors found that 68 percent of cities reported that substance abuse was the largest cause of homelessness for single adults.