Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a public health crisis that is affecting all of us – and we at the Drug Policy Alliance are doing all we can to respond to this pandemic, protect those we serve, and carry out our shared mission.
We are deeply concerned about the well-being of our community members most vulnerable during this public health crisis – people who use drugs; people in jails, prisons, and immigrant detention centers; and people without housing.
They face unique challenges that put them at increased risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus. Although many of us are able to take precautions such as social distancing, these populations are in environments with conditions that can create or exacerbate harms.
We worry that people who use drugs will face even more challenges to access life-saving harm reduction services and medications. We know that people who are incarcerated and detained will remain stuck in crowded, unsanitary spaces. We’ve learned that people without housing will struggle to manage risks without adequate supports, resources, or medical care. We will continue to work in coalition with our partners to center the needs of these communities.
But we also need your help. We understand if the COVID-19 crisis makes you unable to give a gift today. But if you can, any gift, no matter how small, will help us have an impact in the midst of this pandemic. Please make a contribution today.
Many of our allies have created useful resources for protecting these communities during this critical time. Please check out the information below to learn how to protect yourselves and others.
COVID-19/ Prison Holistic Self Care & Protection (created by families and advocates)
DPA, in partnership with JusticeLA and Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)—signed by 117 other organizations and 579 individual public health professionals—urging them to explicitly adopt decarceration and expanded healthcare access for incarcerated and newly released people as a public health imperative to combatting COVID-19 in our communities.
The letter follows troubling reports of rapidly escalating outbreaks within the country’s jails, prisons and youth and immigration detention centers. In order to prevent catastrophic loss of life within these facilities and the surrounding communities, DPA and the letter’s co-signers demand that the CDC add to its recommended guidance for federal, state and local officials immediately.
DPA has also signed on to the following letters calling for the protection of at-risk communities and other lifesaving measures during this public health crisis.
COVID-19 escalates in prisons – tell the CDC to act now
People behind bars, including many for drug offenses, have already tragically died. Join us in calling on the CDC to include the release of people from prison and jails in its COVID-19 guidelines to slow the spread and save lives.
Save lives during COVID-19
Demand that your Governor reduce incarceration and immigrant detention capacity, stop minor arrests, and ensure continued access to medication-assisted treatment and medical marijuana.
Tell Congress to release people in prison at-risk of COVID-19
COVID-19 has already taken the lives people in federal custody including people incarcerated for drug charges. Tell Congress to support the Emergency Community Supervision Act and immediately release people in federal prison who are at-risk of COVID-19.
A drug sentence should not be a death sentence
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of people in prison with drug offenses and more will die unless our lawmakers act now. Tell Congress to support the COVID-19 Correctional Facility Emergency Response Act to protect people behind bars.