Month: February 2023

Episode 81: Harm Reduction Against the Prison-Industrial Complex

Harm reduction is an imperfect philosophy that serves as the only wedge between prohibition and what we all really want, which is a healthy, productive society. If more police and prisons could make drugs safer, we’d have a lot less overdose deaths and problematic addiction. But that’s not what’s happening. Drugs are more available than ever, while overdose deaths continue to shatter records. If this is a war, we lost long ago. (Of course, as we repeatedly emphasize on this show, not all drug use is addiction and in fact, most of it isn’t.)

Instead we have the prison-industrial complex. We have cops and judges that take on the role of doctors. We have a system that is designed to oppress, marginalize and criminalize rational human behavior. Yet, harm reduction in prisons — arguably the one place where it is needed most — is almost completely absent.

On today’s episode, Narcotica co-host Troy Farah spoke to someone who is sadly, currently behind bars. Because of that, we are using their adopted pseudonym, C. Dreams. C. is a writer and advocate interested in prison and criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights, harm reduction and government and cultural criticism. She has studied history and theology with the Third Order of Carmelites and completed degrees in Systematic Theology and is currently studying law. C. has some brilliant writing being published in Filter Magazine. They talk all about drug use in prisons, from K2 to fentanyl, a positive methamphetamine story, the problems with lack of syringe access, let alone access to buprenorphine or methadone, and much much more.

Follow C. on Twitter at: @UnCagedCritique

Read C’s writing in Filter Magazine here:

If you liked this episode, here are others you might enjoy:
Episode 26: Housing As Harm Reduction
Episode 75: Copaganda — The Favorite Tool of Drug Warriors with Alec Karakatsanis
Episode 45: Overdose Is Tragic, Not Murder with Morgan Godvin

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Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel, Aaron Ferguson
Music: Glass Boy / Nomad1
Image: Shannon O’Toole via Flickr // edit: Troy Farah
Intro voice: Jenny Schaye