Race. Of course you'd see this in racist terms. How predictable.

Crack cocaine has always been illegal with a large amount of associated crime that goes with buying and selling it. Opioids are legal and most who abuse it get it legally and they get it paid for by their insurance - in fact a majority of abusers get their drugs through Medicaid.

If people are paying more attention to opioid abuse these days it's because most of those abusing it are not doing anything illegal. They aren't robbing 7 - Elevens or shooting rivals for territory.
@1, Although the root cause of the opioid epidemic may be legally prescribed, the resulting heroin use is clearly illegal and goes hand in hand with the property crimes we see all over Seattle like the shoplifting, car prowls, and package thefts.
The author's very valid point is that the focus on the crack epidemic was incarceration for possession while the focus on the heroin epidemic has been more about treatment for those caught using.
The level of social demonization is not there either. Heroin addicts are victims while crackheads were a threat to civilization. It's hard to ignore the racial component to that.
Sorry this is stupid as fuck. I just couldn't finish the piece. First, the assumption of some universal "sympathy" is specious in the first place and there is a whole host of handwaving one has to indulge in to buy this premise.

Second, addicts were not prescribed crack by their doctors and crack was marketed by billion dollar conglomerates to the point they were distributed like candy.

Addicts are now turning to heroin because they got addicted to prescribed opioids and heroin is cheaper. Nobody turned to crack from some legal prescribed form of amphetamine because it was cheaper.

The reason SOME people are more compassionate about opioid abuse is because:

a) it's a result of LEGAL pain management escalating to addiction.

b) because we are now more compassionate about drug use in general and have now begun to realize as a society that the War on Drugs was a failure. Our policy makers have actually started to LEARN from the crack epidemic. You see doctors being sympathetic because the medical establishment is trying to rectify a terrible mistake. There's no reason to bitch about that.

Look, there's not THAT much sympathy out there for drug addicts. If there was Jeff Sessions wouldn't be the AG.
Should read: "Second, addicts were not prescribed crack by their doctors and crack was NOT marketed by billion dollar conglomerates to the point they were distributed like candy. "
Not disputing the author's point at all but has anyone additionally thought about the fact that crack heads are annoying as fuck and junkies just quietly zonk out all day?

"...and crack was NOT marketed by billion dollar conglomerates to the point they were distributed like candy."

Oh, really?
Sir Cornball, I hadn't thought of that. But it's brilliant.
@7: As long as they've got a steady supply of smack, sure, they're quiet.

But, they usually don't, so they get aggravated. And then they really, really need money to buy smack. So they steal things.

If we'd give them a free supply of pure smack, the junkie crime rate would go plummet. We'd just have a lot of dead junkies, but they'd be well-behaved until they died.
@7: Yeah, until they zonk out (in Baltimore we called it "The Lean") in the middle of a busy intersection.

Charm City!
seemed to me like the public's lack of sympathy for drug addicts during the crack epidemic of the 80's/90's was built around the racism and fear of every member of the cocaine supply chain - the perception of latino growers/cultivators, black cooks and dealers and black users.

compare that to the whiteys in white lab coats who engineered oxy, the white doctors who prescribe, and the white distributors (pill mills, "pain management centers", etc.) and white users - it's easy to see how white america would want to respect the doctors and scientists that started it all, and extend sympathy to it's own who are now addicted, but demonize non-whites in the crack era as terrible people who were destroying their own community.

the white sympathy given to opioid abusers is also based out of a small degree of familiarity; plenty of plain ol' boring white people have been prescribed oxy for an ankle injury or what have you, and after receiving a warning from their family doc about abuse, used them as directed and moved on. few of those same people ever did a bump at a party or smoked a rock.
Pretty sure Jeff Sessions is laughing about it right now at the White Hood Ball in Mar-a-Lago

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