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Safe injection sites save money but also they saves lives.

Philadelphia has, for decades, had a reputation of being a major heroin haven on the East Coast, with its heroin being of such high quality that people purposely moved there for that purpose alone. In recent years with the opiate epidemic steadily getting worse, this reputation only grew more steadily — and then dropped off with the introduction of fentanyl analogues such as acetylfentanyl, butyrfentanyl, and carfentanil (drugs whose names correspond to their chemical formula that are dozens to hundreds of times more potent than morphine) into the heroin supply. Nevertheless, people still swarm to Philadelphia in droves. Puerto Rico drops its heroin addicts off into Philadelphia and people from the surrounding counties and states still come to the city seeking its once-legendary (and now extinct) pure fix. With all of these people going to the city seeking an almost mythical fix that’s been tainted with chemicals humans can’t even consume, it’s not a surprise that the number of fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the city has risen to astonishing and record-breaking numbers. From sidewalks and convenience store bathrooms to buses and trains and even the basements and bedrooms of their parents and partners, overdoses are happening and killing addicts and leaving wounds in the hearts of their loved ones. Those who are lucky to survive a serious overdose are left changed by the experience. My most serious overdose convinced me that I needed recovery again, after relapsing with three years clean. Yet, overdoses may not be enough to convince some addicts that they need to seek recovery. And, honestly, that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with not getting it the first time. Addiction isn’t a rational or reasonable thing, it’s a mental illness that often accompanies other mental illnesses. People who have experience with addiction or with addicts know this about us — they know that many of us simply don’t understand that we have a problem and that we often don't know that we need help until we’ve reached our bottom. For those who don’t know, a “bottom” is a point where people with substance abuse issues realize that we have a problem and hit an emotional, physical, financial, or social wall in our lives. It’s the point where we realize that we’ve, in some way, destroyed our lives in one way or another. Reaching a bottom can take months or it can take years. My first bottom came after years of using and drinking, but my second came only after a few months of using after my relapse. Each person is different.
Related: STOP STIGMATIZING HOW WE RECOVER FROM DRUG ADDICTION

White people are capitalizing off of a plant that led to thousands of Black people getting incarcerated and essentially shutting us out of the legal cannabis market.

In 1992, Tupac famously said “instead of war on poverty, they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me.” The effects of the War on Drugs are still active and visible 25 years after the rapper called attention to this already decades old problem. Black people are nearly four times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession than white people, despite marijuana usage being the same between the two groups. In 2015, African-Americans made up 30 percent of the population of Oakland,California but 77 percent of cannabis arrests, compared to 4 percent for whites.   Like many of the public policies in the U.S., the policies around the prohibition of marijuana was racialized and relied on racist propaganda instead of factual, scientific research. Before Richard Nixon, the man known for inciting the War on Drugs, there was Harry J. Anslinger, the director of the Bureau of Narcotics (known today at the Drug Enforcement Agency). Anslinger’s message to America was clear — weed is evil and it makes Blacks and Latinos “forget their place in society.” Anslinger was even quoted saying “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” Like many white men throughout history, Anslinger used the hypothetical sexual assault of white women to convince the country that marijuana was a dangerous drug. Today, those same white women are benefitting heartily from the legal cannabis market. This week, Fast Company profiled Karson Humiston, a 24-year-old white woman who created a job-listing website for cannabis-related jobs. Black and Brown people have experience growing and distributing marijuana in the underground market. We have also suffered the most from unfair laws and enforcement, but we remain overlooked for the same jobs that appear on Humiston’s website.
Related: PART TWO: BLACK-OWNED URBAN FARMS IN THE DMV

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