Simply put, white people who use opioids are: people WITH addictions, sick, worth saving, and ideally they become confidential patients. Black people who use opioid are: addicts, immoral/weak/dangerous, throwaway and ideally they become public felons. I’ve seen a similar dynamic in Honolulu where there’s a whole lot of anti-black hatred but too few of us for this type of racism to enter the public discourse. Over here people who can afford attorneys to set up drug treatment go to programs not prison. Same with people who know people in a small state that runs on nepotism. What angers me, I’ll be honest, is that I was arrested for possession of a few dollars of an opioid which is not considered a crime anymore in states like Washington, once the “offenders” became whites searching for their prescription drug fix on the street. Read the abstract of the linked article and follow the link for hard truths:
The US ‘War on Drugs’ has had a profound role in reinforcing racial hierarchies. Although Black Americans are no more likely than Whites to use illicit drugs, they are 6–10 times more likely to be incarcerated for drug offenses. Meanwhile, a very different system for responding to the drug use of Whites has emerged. This article uses the recent history of White opioids – the synthetic opiates such as OxyContin® that gained notoriety starting in the 1990s in connection with epidemic prescription medication abuse among White, suburban and rural Americans and Suboxone® that came on the market as an addiction treatment in the 2000s – to show how American drug policy is racialized, using the lesser known lens of decriminalized White drugs. Examining four ‘technologies of whiteness’ (neuroscience, pharmaceutical technology, legislative innovation and marketing), we trace a separate system for categorizing and disciplining drug use among Whites. This less examined ‘White drug war’ has carved out a less punitive, clinical realm for Whites where their drug use is decriminalized, treated primarily as a biomedical disease, and where their whiteness is preserved, leaving intact more punitive systems that govern the drug use of people of color.
Keywords: addiction, whiteness, prescription opioids, heroin