Our recent initiative Uprooting the Drug War exposed how the impact of the war on drugs extends far beyond arrest and incarceration. Up to now little attention has been given to the multitude of distinct ways the drug war itself has contaminated nearly every aspect of people’s lives that we all must interact with daily, including education, healthcare, housing, immigration, and employment.
The way that drug war thinking has distorted these systems by prioritizing punishment and surveillance over care and support has taken a devastating toll. It has deeply destabilized people’s lives: trapped people in poverty, broken up families, taken people’s homes, and robbed employees of their wages and job opportunities, as examples.
Uprooting the Drug War is a call to action for all of us to work together—across movements and with legislators—to provide reform recommendations and create policy proposals to fully extract the drug war and its culture of criminalization from our lives.