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In October, the New York office of the Drug Policy Alliance and the Office of Academic Engagement hosted an influential conference, entitled White Faces, Black Lives: Race and Reparative Justice in the Era of A “Gentler War on Drugs.” Scholars and advocates - some of the most prominent thought leaders on health and drug policy - shared their research and perspectives on historical responses to drug use, the continuation of drug war tactics in some communities, the persistent criminalization of Black and Brown drug users, and the current political shift to a public health approach.

This video captures powerful moments by our speakers.

When it comes to the drug war, it is America that needs a second chance. The blame belongs to the nation that criminalized substance use, liberally doling out punishment to those who needed care.
— The Root

The Price We Paid: Race, Reparative Justice and the Drug War                                               Written By: Dionna King

Blacks and Latinos stand by, watching as public health officials rush to bring an abundance of resources in to help predominantly White communities, but we haven’t forgotten how a similar amount of money was allocated to helping the police rush into our neighborhoods— not to help those of us dying from drug use— but to arrest or remove unsightly Black “junkies” from the public streets. The outpouring of sympathy we are seeing for the loss of White lives is and has been utterly absent for the Black and Brown lives lost due to drug overdoses.

The Role Race Plays in the War On Drugs
Written By: Kassandra Frederique

Rockefeller drug law reform was the first step. But now we must continue to march forward and pass additional policy reforms that focuses less on criminalization and more on a public health solution – a solution for ALL.
— Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry