COVID-19 and Drug Policy Discussion Series

How does COVID-19 exacerbate the pre-existing conditions of the drug war?

People who use drugs are especially impacted by policing, surveillance, and criminalization. COVID-19 both highlights and brings to the forefront the state-imposed punishment of people who use drugs.

The Drug Policy Alliance hosted a series of seven online discussions about COVID-19 and drug policy. These discussions brought together advocates and allies in the justice reform and harm reduction movements to discuss how we can sustain progress, which obstacles still remain, and how we can use the current moment to be more aspirational with our policy agendas. Watch the recordings below.

Rethinking Policing and Surveillance in the Post-COVID-19 Era

To slow the spread of COVID-19 some communities considered temporary changes in policing practices, criminal courts, jail systems, and community supervision. While some localities modestly reduced arrests and released… Read More

COVID-19: New Opportunities to Explore Safe Supply and the Legal Regulation of Drugs

Because of disruptions to the drug supply and the need to purchase and use drugs in settings where it may be difficult to protect themselves and others from risk of infection, COVID-19 presents unique challenges for… Read More

Policing the World of Work: the Impact of COVID-19 on Informal Economies

Criminalization, racism, citizenship, ableism, and parenting impact a person’s ability to find work, and the informal sale of services and goods (e.g. drug selling, sex work, street vending) is a lifeline for many who are… Read More

New Frontiers: Drug Use, Harm Reduction, and Essential Services in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 environment complicates access to harm reduction services but also provides new opportunities for innovation and advocacy at a time when these services are needed more than ever. In this discussion, we… Read More

Improving Substance Use Disorder Treatment During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Access to effective substance use disorder (SUD) treatment has long been out of reach for many. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced treatment providers and clients to limit in-person interaction, reducing longstanding… Read More

Reconsidering Reentry: Exploring Decarceration in its Fullness Amid COVID-19

Federal and state policies distinctly prohibit supports for people who are struggling with addiction and/or are drug involved. In the era of COVID-19 and beyond, calls for decarceration need to be coupled with urgent… Read More

COVID-19, Drug Policy, and Decarceration: Reflections and Looking Ahead

How does decarceration support ending the drug war? How do both decarceration and the decriminalization of drugs support the health and safety of people who use drugs? COVID-19 both highlights and brings to the forefront… Read More