What if you could simultaneously:
1. Reduce gun deaths,
2. Institute major sentencing reform,
3. Meaningfully make black lives matter,
4. And reduce the rapid increase in deaths from opioids?
The best single policy to advance all these causes would be to end the War on Drugs.
Drug related homicides in Progressive strongholds such as Washington D.C., Chicago and Philadelphia would decline, so a major cause for the deaths of black men involving firearms (nearly 6,000 gun deaths annually, or 31.7 homicides per 100,000 black men) would be eliminated. The need for drug related police intervention, and the friction between blacks and police because of it, would be decreased.
The disproportionate sentencing of blacks for the sale and use of drugs would be reduced. Inner-city neighborhoods would be safer and other crimes would decline.
On black lives and firearms, from the Brookings Institution:
“The vast majority (77 percent) of white gun deaths are suicides; less than one in five (19 percent) is a homicide.
These figures are nearly opposite in the black population, where only 14 percent of gun deaths are suicides but 82 percent are homicides:”
Without the War on Drugs, older white men might still commit suicide at high rates (nearly 16,000 annual gun deaths, or 16.3 suicides per 100,000 white men), but to some of the SJWs out there, this is a benefit.
Annual gun death data from here, a good place to interactively apply demographics to gun death stats.
Another benefit of ending the War on Drugs would be that doctors who prescribe, and patients who truly need the pain relief provided by, opioids would be be better off.
“the overdose death rate from opioids hit a record high of 33,000 in 2015 — but the majority of deaths were from heroin, and deaths from fentanyl doubled over the previous year. Overdoses from prescription opioids, however, are stabilizing or even receding.”
There is also evidence that where marijuana is legally available, Jeff Sessions notwithstanding, the use of more dangerous drugs declines:
State Medical Marijuana Laws Linked to Lower Prescription Overdose Deaths
“In states where it is legal to use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where medical marijuana remains illegal, new research suggests.”
Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?
“We study the impact of medical marijuana laws on problematic opioid use. Based on standard differences-in-differences models, event study analyses, and synthetic control models, we find that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths. The mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries.”
Medical marijuana reduces use of opioid pain meds, decreases risk for some with chronic pain
-University of Michigan
“Patients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications known as opioids, a University of Michigan study finds.”
So, the expansion of marijuana dispensaries looks like it might drive down the social and monetary costs for emergency medical intervention. Ending the War on Drugs can start there. And we get the bonus titillation of thwarting Jeff Sessions.
Quality control applied to the most dangerous drugs, such as heroin and Fentanyl, would make self administration safer through accurate dosage of unadulterated drugs.
Finally, over a relatively short time, the number of overdose deaths would decline because most of those prone to overdose would have succumbed.
This last may seem cynical and cruel, but those are the people who will overdose, or die from hepatitis, etc. in any case. At least they will not have been shot.