In Era of Opioid Crisis, Congress Reassesses Crack Cocaine Sentencing Laws

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As the federal government focuses on combating the opioid crisis, a bipartisan effort to revise sentencing guidelines set during the 1980s crack cocaine era faces an uncertain future, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Lawmakers are treating opioids as a public health crisis, while they approached the crack epidemic as a law-and-order issue, the article notes. Some legislators say the difference in approach has racial undertones, since the crack epidemic disproportionately affected the black community, while the opioid crisis largely affects whites.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved legislation that would allow for some shorter federal sentences for certain drug defendants. It contains measures that would allow some prisoners to become eligible to serve out the last part of their sentence in a halfway house or home confinement. In the current political climate, the bill is not expected to be brought to the Senate floor, because of a perception the legislation would go easy on criminals, according to the article.

Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Deaths from heroin increased 328% between 2010 and 2015, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now seeing a rise as well.

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