Regarding Shane Sullivan’s Feb. 13 Local Opinions essay, “Facing a surge in overdose deaths, D.C. should now decriminalize drugs”:
The decriminalization of drugs is appealing not just in D.C. but also in the United States in general. The decriminalization of drugs would help diminish racial disparities that are embedded in the American prison system, promote public safety and health, and allocate money to better resources.
In the United States, minorities are incarcerated for drug offenses at much higher rates and are more likely to receive harsher sentences than Caucasians. The decriminalization of drugs (especially cannabis) can significantly reduce the racial disparity this country is facing.
Money now spent on the drug war and penitentiaries could be put to better use by allocating it to the expansion of drug treatment programs. In most cases, drug addiction is a disease. Therefore, it is appropriate that it be treated as such. Offenders rarely get the treatment they need for disorders while in jails and prisons. This is essential to public safety and health, as those who struggle with addiction receive the help they need and no longer pose a threat to those around them.
Sophia Godinho Silveira, Atlanta
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