Beth Macy’s Raising Lazarus is the latest book on the overdose crisis. Unfortunately, this insightful journalist who wrote Dopesick, made into a series on Hulu, is a harm reductionist who doesn’t put too much stock in primary drug prevention.
Drug policy should have three prongs: Prevention, Recovery and Harm Reduction.
Instead of tirelessly stating “Let’s stop stigmatizing addiction,” why can’t we say, “Let’s celebrate recovery”?
We need to incentivize recovery.
The drug epidemic has been running for more than 20 years now, and today the primary driver is fentanyl, an opioid sold on the black market. An estimated 107,000 died of overdose last year. Why is it only getting worse? Perhaps it’s because we’re addressing the problem with harm reduction only and not spending much money on drug prevention. In the case of fentanyl, youths are going right from marijuana use to buying pills that are laced with fentanyl and dying immediately. In pot legalization states out west, it currently is happening to those as young as 13 and 14.
Macy’s view of marijuana is a blindspot
Macy scorns Nancy Reagan and her “cabal of marijuana-hating moms” on p. 77. But does she realize that the parents movement of 1979-1992 brought down drugs use from 39% of all teens to 14%? The parent movement, which included black activists, was an exceptional achievement. We could do the same now, if only harm reduction were not the primary leg of drug policy. Continue reading Raising Lazarus Describes Continuing Overdose Crisis