Elected Officials, Community Members and Civil Rights Groups Demand Racial Equity in New York’s Response to the Heroin and Opioid Crisis

Press Release June 6, 2016
Media Contact

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<p>Tony Newman 646-335-5384<br />
Matt Curtis 646-234-9062</p>

ALBANY, New York — This Wednesday, elected officials, community members, civil rights and legal advocates, and drug policy reformers will join together to call for the inclusion of communities of color in Albany’s response to heroin and opioids. In the midst of the opioid crisis, lawmakers and the media have increasingly highlighted strategies that treat drug use as a public health issue. But despite the rhetoric, the overwhelming emphasis of New York drug policy remains on criminalization, which is disproportionately focused on people of color.

New York, like the rest of the country, has begun to reject criminal justice approaches to drugs amid a perception that more people who use drugs are now from white, suburban, and middle class communities. Amid this trend there has been little effort at the state level to repair the harms of the failed drug policies of the last 45 years that have devastated communities of color. New York’s draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws were a model for other states around the country, and a significant driver of mass incarceration, gross racial disparities, and disruption of New York families and communities.

Speakers will call on the New York State legislature and Governor Cuomo to create policies that will repair the harms associated with the drug war, in addition to ensuring an equitable distribution of public health resources to help all people in need.

WHAT:  Press Conference “Prescription for Everybody’s Pain: Heroin and Communities of Color – A Time for Atonement and Action.”
WHEN:  Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 1pm
WHERE:  Million Dollar Staircase, New York State Capitol
State St. and Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12224

Legislative policy proposals include:

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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