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ICYMI: DPA's Grant Smith Connects the Dots Between Trump, the Drug War and Much More

Virginia Purcell

Just in case you missed it yesterday, the New York Daily News published an op-ed by DPA’s deputy director of national affairs, Grant Smith. The piece takes an intersectional approach to analyzing America’s addiction to the war on drugs.

Smith connects the dots between President Trump’s friendly talk with Philippines President Duterte, who is known for extrajudicial killings of over 4,000 drug users, and President Trump’s tactics of combining people’s fear of the opioid crisis with anger towards immigrant groups. In addition, Smith analyzes the harm the war on drugs does to the taxpayer, Trump’s push to eliminate health care for millions of people who are at risk to opioid degpendence, and the utter failure of heavy drug criminalization.

Smith compares current political policy to that of the Nixon administration by arguing: “Whether he knew it at the time or not, Trump’s call for a border wall to keep drugs and immigrants out of the country came straight out of the same political playbook that President Richard Nixon used when he declared the first war on drugs more than four decades ago…By launching a war on drugs, Nixon was able to declare war on entire communities that he despised.”

Looking at the war on drugs within the context of immigration policies, the border wall, public health, and economic sensibility provides a holistic view of how the war on drugs has been devastating to many different aspects of our society.

Smith closes the piece by saying:  “Authorities haven’t been successful at keeping drugs out of maximum security prisons, let alone the third-largest landmass in the world. No border wall will impede the illicit drug trade. And no escalated federal enforcement effort will reduce the demand for powerful narcotics.”

Given this, drug policies must be grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

To read Smith’s piece in Daily News, go here.

Virginia Purcell is an intern with the Drug Policy Alliance.

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