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The War on Drugs seeks ARPA Funds (ie the Fentanyl Crisis)

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Fam. I really thought I was going to write a piece about the harms of Fentanyl (and I'll at least include a little background on the drug). But I should’ve known something didn’t smell right when our District Attorney was giving a presentation on a public health crisis. Even DA Anne Marie Schubert kept looking over at the doctors in the room, admitting that they knew more than her about the issue. Any guesses as to why she was there? Fame? Luck? Good will? Or……...You guessed it……… MONEY! The carceral system smelled ARPA funds and slid on in to get themselves a piece.

​Fentanyl was created in 1959 for cancer patients, or for anesthesia. It’s a powerful opioid pain medication now used to treat people with long term severe pain. It’s said to be 100 times more powerful than morphine, and is mainly manufactured in China. In 2014 the media seems to have first caught wind that there was an increase in overdoses linked to Fentanyl, mainly in the northeast part of the USA.

In 2019 we started to see an even deadlier opioid show up in Seattle said to be 100 times stronger than fentanyl called carfentanil. Fentanyl is less expensive and more readily available, but so potent that it’s easier to overdose.

It didn’t start terribly. Schubert started talking about prevention, and how prosecution won’t solve this problem.

She spoke about how many dealers don’t know they’re selling fentanyl, and even showed a PSA where a fire chief explained that many people turn to the streets for drugs when a prescription isn’t accessible for them. There was even talk about harm reduction strategies, like free Naloxone/Narcan distribution. (which is a non habit forming way to bring someone back from overdosing) But soon the presentation took a nose dive as she included herself in the discussion of how first responders should/potentially do respond to opioid addiction.

And before we knew it, we were right on fear mongering’s doorstep. Remember reefer madness? Or how in school we were told that if you did acid a few times you would be clinically insane (was that just my school?) Because this presentation had very scared straight vibes.

I’m not insinuating that fentanyl isn’t a serious drug - but I do want to point out that we’ve learned that fear and punishment don’t stop people from using drugs.

The DA has already started a website -

Schubert would like an undisclosed amount of ARPA funds to run a media campaign warning the community about the dangers of fentanyl. She would also make health care workers mandated reporters when they encounter fentanyl use, establish a database to track fentanyl users, and charge fentanyl dealers with murder if overdoses can be tracked back to them.

She clearly admitted her plan would help law enforcement criminalize community members.

What happened to prevention? And prosecution not being the answer?

This plan makes the public less likely to seek medical help, and per the usual misses the point of the cause of the substance abuse.

Frost was frothing at the mouth to get the mandating reporting system going. And left us with a little nugget of wisdom for how to fix substance use disorders.

Nottoli is willing to find the money, even if it doesn't qualify for ARPA funds.

Kennedy seemed to be the only one with any sense. He inquired about distribution of the life save Naloxone. Not too shockingly DA Schebert again defaulted to doctors needing to be the ones having this discussion.

There was only one public comment, and she was in line with medical professionals about the need to focus on reducing harm, as opposed to continuing to incarcerate.

At the end of the day the district attorney and law enforcement heavily controlling the plan for substance use disorders is a recipe for them continuing to criminalize mental health issues.


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