Episode 79: Is California Really Progressive on Drugs? with Dr. Isaac Jackson

People have this conception that San Francisco’s streets are just overflowing with human shit and people injecting drugs in the open. Stereotypes about California being overrun with homeless encampments and open-air drug markets abound, as if these things don’t exist in other states, while politicians in Arkansas and Oklahoma, for example, warn against so-called progressive policies infecting the midwest. But how true is all this?

San Francisco in particular is associated with progressive policy, especially when it comes to drugs. From the chill vibes of Haight-Ashbury and Hippie Hill to opening Prevention Point in 1988, the Golden Gate city has long been a leader on certain drug issues. But not always.

On this episode of Narcotica, Troy Farah speaks with Dr. Isaac Jackson, a community organizer who has over a decade of experience working with drug users. He has been instrumental in starting two drug user organizations (San Francisco Drug Users Union in 2010 and the San Francisco branch of the Urban Survivors Union in 2013). As leader of the Urban Survivors Union in San Francisco, Jackson has spearheaded a crack pipe distribution program and so much more, he has a lot of interesting history to share. The conversation meanders all over the place and doesn’t really stick on California too much, but that’s the main throughline in discussing Jackson’s unique history and connection to this beautiful region of America.

If you liked this episode, here are others you might enjoy:

Episode 69: The Promise and Peril of the Psychedelic Mainstream with Shelby Hartman and Madison Margolin

Episode 64: LSD And Psilocybin For Physical Pain? with Greg McKee and Dr. Johannes Ramaekers

Episode 44: Reimagining Public Health and Racial Justice with Dr. Ricky Bluthenthal

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Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel, Aaron Ferguson

Music: Glass Boy / Nomad1

Intro voice: Jenny Schaye

Image: The Noun Project // edit: Troy Farah