ACADEMIC RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS

2021

ADDRESSING THE OVERDOSE EPIDEMIC: SUBSTANCE USE POLICY FOR THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION

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, INCARCERATION & THE CRIMINAL LEGAL SYSTEM 

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. 

BOLD STEPS NEEDED TO CORRECT COURSE IN US DRUG POLICIES

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.

HARM REDUCTION, BY MAIL: THE NEXT STEP IN PROMOTING THE HEALTH OF PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE, MARCH 12, 2021

No abstract available yet – online ahead of print.

OVERDOSE DEATHS AND JAIL INCARCERATION

VERA INSTITUTE, FEBRUARY 12, 2021

To understand trends in overdose death, jail incarceration, and racial disparities, the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) collected national and local data that can be explored using the tools below. Learn more about the data used to compile these tools. In addition, Vera reviewed state policies and conducted case studies of local responses to the overdose crisis in New Mexico and North Carolina to provide context for the numbers.

FOCUSED ACCOUNTABILITY: A BILATERAL RESPONSE TO THE INTERNATIONAL PROLIFERATION OF FENTANYL ANALOGUES 

VERA INSTITUTE, JANUARY 31, 2021

...By all accounts, Moser had a loving family, kind friends, and a promising life. On September 19, 2015, much to the horror of his parents and loved ones, Moser unexpectedly passed away. Autopsy reports revealed a disturbing cause of death. Moser had self-injected a substance that he believed at the time of his purchase to be heroin, but what was actually its sinister cousin: synthetic fentanyl. This misunderstanding cost him his life.

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