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The face of addiction has changed

June 19, 2019
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

Should there be an apology for the 1994 crime bill? Perhaps the question should be "Should there be an apology for introducing a crime bill in a country with such a racist white supremacy attitude?"

The response to that legislation could have very well been predicted. The destruction of minorities' communities and families was alarming. Emphasis on greater incarceration and serving long sentences is the foundation for today's mass incarceration -- often on the basis of minor drug possession.

Let us now compare that "war on drugs" with our current drug crisis. We can label it the opioid crisis but we all know that there are multiple illicit drugs involved and little is being done to control them. Yes, we should be attacking the opioid epidemic. But do not excuse the other illicit drugs.

Yes, there is a difference in the attitude of the country on drug use and treatment of addiction. But the primary difference is in this instance is who is addicted. From 1960 to 2000 the addicted was primarily the poor and minorities.Today the addict is represented by a much broader segment of the American population. We see the problem differently now. And we are attacking those with deeper pockets. Still we are not solving the problem that caused it.

The First Step Act was signed in to law in December. This will make our criminal justice system more equitable and fair. We can focus more on rehabilitation. This does little to address the fact that there are more than 200,000 Americans serving life sentences for drug use problems, most of them are people of color. And , this does not address those serving long sentences in state and local jails.

Lewis Robinson

Fort Myers



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