On Monday, Oklahoma state prosecutors won a case against pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson; claiming the corporation pushed doctors to prescribe opioids and thus furthered the opioid epidemic, the prosecutors convinced a state judge to rule in their favor. As a result, Johnson and Johnson will have to pay over $574 million for their damages. But there’s a major issue with this verdict: the state of Oklahoma has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. Their part in the drug war has caused immeasurable suffering to countless people.
Since 1971, Americans have been victims of the war on drugs. Nixon began the war on drugs to target anti-war hippies and people of color, and we still pay the consequences today. As polls show that over 62% of Americans support marijuana legalization and psychedelics continue to help those in need, we are left to wonder why this drug war continues. Isn’t the government supposed to serve us? Aren’t our representatives supposed to represent American interests? Or are there other, less immediately apparent interests at play?
There is hope on the horizon for America. For the first time in three decades, overdose deaths have stalled. Naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan, is hailed as the reason for this decline in overdose deaths. This is a major step forward in the battle against the opioid epidemic in America.
Opioids come in many forms, ranging from painkillers to heroin. Naloxone has been used since the early 70s and has found widespread use by paramedics and firefighters. In April, the FDA approved a generic form of Naloxone, and the results are in.
In the 2002 Steven Spielberg film Minority Report, a special police unit prevents crimes before they happen based on the premonitions of psychics. Once again, reality imitates art. But instead of psychics, police are using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict future crimes. This won’t decrease crime, though. Rather, it’s a police state nightmare in the making.
Since the War on Drugs began in the early 70s, there have been people, interest groups, and politicians working to bring an end to it. As early as the 1990s, states were legalizing medical marijuana usage thanks to largely Democratic politicians. Pot legalization has been a contentious topic in all American elections since. Although Democrats spearhead the issue, more and more people on both sides are giving the go-ahead for pot legalization. However, Former Vice President Joe Biden starkly breaks with this Democratic consensus on weed.