criminal justice reform

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

Episode 34: “Inside the Bloody War on Drugs” with Antony Lowenstein

President Richard Nixon ignited the War on Drugs in 1971 by declaring drugs “public enemy No. 1.” Over the ensuing decades, the U.S. has turned the Drug War into a vital feature of its vast empire, exporting a drug policy of militant enforcement and harsh criminalization in Mexico, Latin America, South America, and beyond. Exactly how this war plays out––its victims, villains, and profiteers––is the subject of journalist Antony Lowenstein’s vivid new book, “Pills, Powder, and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs.” On Today’s episode, co-hosts Troy Farah and Zachary Siegel interview Lowenstein about what he saw on his journey chronicling the Drug War in countries like the Philippines, Australia, Honduras, and the U.S., among elsewhere.

You can follow Antony Lowenstein on Twitter and buy his book here.

Follow Narcotica on FacebookTwitter and support us on Patreon. Your support is appreciated! We’re on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher and more. Tell your friends about us!
Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel 
Co-Producer: Aaron Ferguson 
Music: Glass Boy / Monplaisir
Photo: Linnaea Mallette / Edit Troy Farah

Episode 30: Getting Wrecked with Dr. Kim Sue

Doctors are often blamed for prescribing America into the opioid crisis. Their reckless actions, relying on opioids to relieve just about every morsel of pain, ignited the deadliest overdose crisis in history, so we’re told. Of course, the narrative around doctors is much more complex than that.

But one truth is inescapable: Without doctors prescribing methadone and buprenorphine, and taking care of some of the most marginalized people in the health care system, like incarcerated women, there is no end to the crisis in sight. Meet Dr. Kimberly Sue, the medical director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, and a leader in addiction medicine. Dr. Sue wrote a new book, Getting Wrecked: Women, Incarceration, and the American Opioid Crisis. In this episode, co-host Zachary Siegel interviews Dr. Sue, and they talk about women’s self-determination, the brutality of incarceration, and they imagine a world where women are treated humanely, not criminalized. 

Buy Dr. Sue’s book:
Follow Dr. Sue on Twitter:

Follow Narcotica on FacebookTwitter and support us on Patreon. Your support is appreciated! We’re on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher and more. Tell your friends about us!
Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-Producer: Aaron Ferguson
Music: Glass Boy, Pictures of the Floating World