According to Vox, America is experiencing the worst drug epidemic in its history, with another 200,000 addicts set to lose the treatments helping them stay clean as Republican sadistically repeal Obamacare. At the same time, Republicans are looking to make Jeff Sessions the Attorney General of the United States. Sessions, a lifelong white supremacist, once said, out loud, that the KKK was alright by him until he found out that they smoked marijuana.
Sessions is a big drug warrior so it’s to be expected that he will go after drug user with abandon. But the Drug War was always about using the police to terrorize black communities and throw as many brown-skinned men in jail as possible. Looking at the incarceration rates of white and blacks that sell and smoke marijuana at about the same level, it’s indisputable that the “War on Drugs” disproportionately affects minorities.
But the opioid epidemic is overwhelmingly centered in white communities in white states. The states getting slammed the most are places like West Virginia (93.6% white), Kentucky (88.1%), Massachusetts (82%) and Ohio (82.7%). The reaction from the right has been mixed. Some have advocated a complete about face on drug policy, insisting that helping the victims (they’re victims these days, not degenerate criminals) is more important than punishing them.
But then there are others who seem unaware of the racist purpose of the drug war and are happy to let white drug users die from overdoses and HIV by the busload. Should Sessions apply the full force of the drug war on white communities, we’re going to see the kind of social and familial decimation blacks have been living with for decades.
On the other hand, if Sessions remains true to his deeply held racism, he will find all kinds of excuses as to why he will overlook opioid abuse while cracking down on even legal marijuana use (in black neighborhoods and Democratic states only, of course). Normally, it would be difficult to be so shameless but Trump has made it practically mandatory to be a shameless hypocrite if you’re going to work for him.
It’s hard to say which facet of Sessions’ twisted psyche will win out, his racism or his religiously-fueled opposition to drugs, but either way, we’re facing a repeat of the worst days of America’s failed drug policy.