ACADEMIC RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS
JAMA NETWORK, MAY 26, 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the US, the country was in the midst of a several decades–long and accelerating overdose crisis, with more than 70 000 deaths in 2019. At the outset of the pandemic, many experts expected that overdose mortality would increase sharply because of increased social isolation and instability and shifts in the drug supply, if adequate measures were not taken to flatten the overdose curve as part of the COVID-19 response. In December 2020, provisional records were released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), confirming this prediction; in the first months of the pandemic, overdose fatalities spiked sharply, reaching a total of 81 684 deaths in the 12-month period ending in May 2020.
CENTRE ON DRUG POLICY EVALUATION, APRIL 2021
In this brief for the Biden-Harris Administration, the CDPE and the Health in Justice Action Lab outline key actions to enhance the equity and effectiveness of drug policy in the United States.
Key actions across five drug policy issues are outlined:
Reforming cannabis policy;
Removing obstacles to harm reduction for overdose and infectious disease prevention
And more, view the brief here.
THE PETRIE-FLOM CENTER AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, MARCH 24, 2021
For twenty years, overdose deaths in the U.S. have sharply increased. In 2019, more than 70,000 Americans died of drug-related causes. Preliminary data suggests the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating this trend.
This panel explored the strengths and shortcomings of U.S. drug policy and discuss what the Biden administration might learn from countries, cities, and states taking innovative approaches to problematic substance use.
Panel Speaker: Leo Beletsky
COVID-19 POLICY PLAYBOOK: LEGAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A SAFER, MORE EQUITABLE FUTURE, MARCH 23, 2021
America’s status as the world’s leading jailor is a key factor rendering it especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact with the criminal legal system is a documented driver of health harms on both individual and community levels, with disproportionate impact on people of color. COVID-19 magnified the deleterious public health impact of policing, prisons, community supervision, and other elements of the criminal legal apparatus. On the structural level, decades of lavish spending on the United States’ vast system of control and punishment has crowded out investments in public health prevention and social support infrastructure, making the nation uniquely ill-prepared to weather the COVID-19 disaster. In a tragic illustration of politics trumping science, elected officials and correctional administrators ignored calls to make rapid depopulation of correctional facilities a core component of the U.S. COVID-19 response.
THE PETRIE-FLOM CENTER AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, MARCH 22, 2021
The accelerating trajectory of the overdose crisis is an indictment of the legal and policy interventions deployed to address it. Indeed, at the same time as the U.S. has pursued some of the most draconian drug policies in the world, it has experienced one of the worst drug crises in its history.
J URBAN HEALTH, MARCH 12, 2021
No abstract available yet – online ahead of print.