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Police officers Are Portraying Themselves as Victims of Their Own Drug Battle

Getty Images/Steve Skinner

After we bring to mind the people that’ve been harmed essentially the most by the war on tablets, Black and Indigenous other folks, moreover to other folks which would perchance perchance well be low-earnings, or are living in rural communities, advance to mind.

But ironically it’s police officers, essentially the most important foot squaddies of prohibition, who’re in most cases painted as victims of the drug war’s worst consequences, allowing them to siphon off sources earmarked for other folks addicted to opioids and contact for more sturdy punishments for the people that “impart” them to fentanyl throughout the course of their investigations. 

Take shall we embrace a pair of payments in Florida’s verbalize legislature that can perchance well assemble it a second-level prison to impart a most critical responder to tablets if the exposure finally ends up in overdose or extreme hurt. The payments, which have handed first readings, outline exposure as ingestion, inhalation, needlestick hurt, or absorption thru pores and skin or mucus. They outline an overdose or extreme bodily hurt as “drug toxicity or a bodily situation that creates a substantial risk of dying or substantial loss or impairment of the operate of any bodily member or organ.” Severely, the payments don’t specify that a drug test on the uncovered officer may perchance perchance well be required to file prices. 

As VICE News has previously reported over and over, accidental fentanyl “exposure” isn’t an actual thing. The premise that officers can overdose simply from touching or being in the presence of fentanyl is a story that’s been widely debunked by scientists and drug policy consultants. The misinformation in half used to be spread by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Companies and products for Disease Administration and Prevention, although the DEA has since reneged on that map. 

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As for viral videos of officers collapsing after being “uncovered” to fentanyl, those have also been debunked by toxicologists, some of whom affirm the signs observed in those videos, equivalent to dizziness and fainting, are extra fixed with terror assaults than with opioid overdoses. Signs of opioid overdose consist of an absence of consciousness and silly and shallow breathing. 

And but, the fentanyl terror is riding public policy in the invent of extra aggressive punishments for other folks that employ tablets. 

Drug seizures have the truth is been linked to important will enhance in overdoses in the rapid vicinity where they take map, in accordance with a gape published in the American Journal of Public Successfully being last three hundred and sixty five days. That’s on account of when police attain a drug bust, the drug users who rely on that supply have to to find unique and frequently unpredictable sources of tools, which is extremely unpleasant in the latest era of man-made tablets. 

Briefly: Lawmakers are proposing legislation designed to provide protection to officers from a non-existent threat, whereas those identical officers’ actions create better risks for the people which would perchance perchance well be most at risk of the poisonous drug supply. 

Meanwhile, opioid settlement money—over $50 billion in money from pharmaceutical companies who were sued for his or her operate in the opioid epidemic, is starting to accept farmed out to states and native governments, although the course of has been criticized as opaque

The funds are supposed to be venerable to take care of opioid addiction and lengthen are living-saving measures just like the overdose antidote naloxone. But unprecedented of it will increased policing measures, including physique scanners for inmates, patrol automobiles, cell phone hacking devices, and hiring extra officers.

In August, the Open Society Coverage Middle, a non-income advocacy community, published an open letter stating that settlement funds ought to serene no longer be venerable on legislation enforcement, which would perchance perchance well “undermine public correctly being programs” by confiscating sterile drug paraphernalia or scaring other folks out of calling for support in the course of overdoses. 

“Let this… be the day we are announcing ‘no’ to further criminalization and enlargement of carceral techniques and as a change commit to the employ of opioid settlement funds to attain definite exchange in our communities,” talked about the letter, signed by dozens of prominent drug policy consultants.

By the looks of it, that day serene hasn’t advance. 

Apply Manisha Krishnan on X.

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