Because I am Black, I am more likely to be arrested or go to prison for drug use than receive treatment
Racist drug policies, coupled with systemic racism in the health care and criminal justice systems, have sowed distrust and imposed devastating consequences on Black and Brown communities.
A lot of black and brown people are upset. They’re upset about the amount of attention that white people are getting for the opioid crisis. And comparing that to the attention that we got with the crack epidemic. We got prison sentences — 10 years, 20 years — disenfranchising Black and Brown communities. But nowadays it’s, “Oh, it’s mental health.” It’s, “Let’s give them the help they need.” We didn’t receive that same treatment.
Montee’s story is based on his recorded interview with Heart of the Matter podcast host Elizabeth Vargas, and has been edited for clarity.