Opioids: Treating an Illness, Ending a War

By: Nazgol Ghandnoosh and Casey Anderson. Published by: The Sentencing Project. Published in December 2017.

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This report advocates for a revamping of the way in which the US approaches the opioid crisis. Researchers at the Sentencing Project begin by explaining why the War on Drugs has failed and use the program’s inefficiencies to push for a public health-based approach to ending this epidemic.

Ghandnoosh and Anderson argue that U.S. physicians must be limited in the amount of opioids they prescribe through regulations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, revised health insurance policies that allow access to alternative treatments that carry lower risks of addiction, and improve state-level monitoring systems for problematic prescribing amongst physicians.

In order to attack addiction at the roots, Anderson and Ghandnoosh advocate for a shift from drug treatment predominantly concentrated in the criminal justice system to a community-based approach. They argue that to end overdose deaths, expanded access to training and supervised consumption sites should be implemented. Lastly, Anderson and Ghandnoosh denounce the criminalization of drug addiction, and assert that people with felony drug convictions should no longer be barred from federal benefits.

Categories: Health, Health, Legal Aid Practitioners, National, Policymakers and Funders, Substance use, Victims of Crime

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