Leftists’ decriminalization of drugs to “help blacks” has backfired…big time


The following includes editorial commentary which is the opinion of the writer, a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

Democrats like to claim that they are the party of African Americans, continually railing against Republicans who they claim are racists intent on oppressing minorities, in particular blacks. Yet, a not so deep dive into policies advocated by Democrats seems to show the exact opposite is true.

For example, Democrats strongly advocate for defunding the police, and also advocate for strict gun control. Yet both measures adversely impact the minority community in urban areas than whites living in the suburbs and rural America.

One of the more egregious acts put forth by Democrats is the decriminalization of drugs. Journalist Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center wrote a piece which spells out the dire effects these policies have on the minority community.

In 2021, leftists, most notably the so-called “squad” introduced a measure called the Drug Policy Reform Act, designed to decriminalize drugs at the federal level. The Act made the claim that the so-called “war on drugs” led to “the deaths of countless black and brown people,” a premise which Greenfield disputes.

For example when addressing the legislation, far-left Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) claimed that “ending criminal penalties for drug possession at the federal level” would  serve to “repair harm in black and brown communities.”

The federal government, however, was not the only government entity where lawmakers believed decriminalization of drugs was a good idea. A number of states decriminalized some forms of drugs, with 38 of those states decriminalizing marijuana.

Worse still, Oregon…which at one time was a beautiful state…decriminalized all narcotics, including cocaine and heroin, this despite the fact the Beaver State has the second-highest substance abuse rate, Greenfield writes. To make matters worse, after the legislation was passed, overdose deaths in Oregon rose 41% compared to a 16% rise nationwide.

One might think that given such statistics, other states might want to reconsider expanding decriminalization beyond marijuana.

However that isn’t the case, and states such as New York, Washington, and several others are looking into decriminalizing so-called “personal possession” of small amounts of drugs.

Aside from legislative action, a number of progressive far-left district attorneys merely stopped prosecuting drug offenses, watered-down existing laws, and in some cases police departments stopped enforcing so-called “street level” offenses, which led to a drug overdose epidemic.

For example, Greenfield cites San Francisco, where now-former pro-criminal DA Chesa Boudin’s light on crime policies led to 1,300 drug overdose deaths in the last two years. Boudin was recalled by voters and his replacement has done a 180 on his policies.

“The days of giving dealers a free pass to flood the streets with fentanyl are over,” said DA Brooke Jenkins, Boudin’s black female replacement. “We cannot allow our residents to die on the streets of overdose[s].”

When the decriminalization measure was passed in Oregon, proponents claimed it was a way to “dismantle systemic racism.” Further, Oregon’s Secretary of State and the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission made the claim that racial disparities in enforcement would be almost entirely eliminated by drug decriminalization, Greenfield wrote.

However, the reality is that it didn’t appear that racial disparities in drug convictions were spurred by disparities in enforcement, but rather from disparities in drug use.

“And while you can eliminate disparities in sentencing by eliminating the crime, you can’t eliminate the real world consequences,” Greenfield wrote.

And statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) seem to back that up.

Drug overdose deaths are up 44% among blacks nationwide. According to CDC data, black overdose deaths increased from 5,452 in 2019 to 7,467 in 2020, an increase of over 2,000 blacks who died due to drug overdoses, and by extension, Democrats’ light on crime and decriminalization efforts.

Greenfield notes that among young black men aged 15 to 24, which was the age demographic Democrats and even some Republicans had sought to protect from the so-called “prison pipeline,” overdoses skyrocketed 92%.

Meanwhile, among blacks aged 25-44, drug overdoses increased by 55%, while even blacks in their sixties saw a 44% increase in deaths.

And the death rate among blacks isn’t limited to only drug overdoses. The dismantling of the criminal justice system, in particular in Democrat-run cities where lawmakers pandered to Black Lives Matter, proved devastating to blacks in particular.

In 2020, the number of blacks murdered rose 62%, due in no small part to the “culture of lawlessness” advocated by Democrats from Kamala Harris to Nancy Pelosi, and many others, which included defunding of police, mass releases of prisoners due to “COVID,” court shutdowns (also due to COVID) and a basic decriminalization in primarily Democratic-run cities.

The total death toll was 5,839 blacks murdered in 2020 alone, an increase of 2,244 blacks in one year. All because one man…George Floyd, a career criminal…died of an overdose that was blamed on police excessive use of force.

All of this was done in the name of “systemic police racism,” yet because of how lawmakers and criminal justice officials responded, over 4,259 blacks died when you combine the deadly riots and drug overdoses. That is apparently how “black lives matter,” at least to liberal Democrats.

Police have been accused of people such as the aforementioned Cori Bush of committing “genocide” against blacks, but the statistics do not come close to supporting such nonsense. However what does equate to genocide is, as Greenfield says, “the culture of criminality” supported by lawmakers starting in 2020.


According to Johns Hopkins reporting on gun deaths in 2020, it discovered:

“In 2020, one out of every 1,000 young Black males (15-34) was shot and killed.” Continuing, it noted, “More than half of all black teens (15-19) who died in 2020—a staggering 52%–were killed by gun violence.”

Those statistics add up to 13,000 total deaths of blacks due to criminal activity in 2020. Greenfield writes that “the catastrophic increases in criminal deaths among young black men…look a lot more like a genocide, but it’s a self-inflicted genocide enabled by white wokes who claim to want to save black people from a fictitious ‘systemic racism’ while causing thousands of black deaths.”

An examination of the CDC’s drug overdose death report indicates that drug decriminalization “proved to be as deadly to black people as the rest of the leftist and black nationalist agenda.”

Yet lawmakers and decriminalization activists refuse to admit they made a grievous error in decriminalizing drugs, instead insisting that lack of treatment is the real issue.

Unfortunately for them, CDC statistics seem to dispute that.

“…among black persons, the drug overdose rate during 2020 in areas with the highest mental health provider availability (46.7) was more than 2.5 times as high as the rate in areas with the lowest rate of providers.”

Greenfield notes drug overdoses increased “across the board in 2020,” however it was the most vulnerable, those with a history of addiction, who suffered the highest impact. It had nothing to do with the fantasy of “systemic racism.”

In essence, those populations most likely to use drugs…blacks and American Indians…were most affected by drug overdoses.

Going back to Oregon, blacks were twice as likely as whites to die of drug overdoses, which seems to have defeated what that state’s lawmakers were trying to accomplish. Instead of defeating “systemic racism” and by extension black deaths, it instead increased black deaths. The law of unintended consequences.

Ironically, leftists go back to President Nixon over the so-called “war on drugs,” however he was attempting to win back black votes. Instead it was former Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) who pushed Nixon into the war on drugs.

“Public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive,” Rangel said.

At that time, for example, 71% of blacks in New York wanted drug dealers put in prison without chance of parole. Moreover, some civil rights activists and black intellectuals actually wanted the death penalty for those who were getting the black community addicted.

“Those of us who fight for our children’s lives know what we have to do,” Orde Coombs, contributing writer to New York Magazine wrote at the time. “We must walk through our Harlems and find the black pushers and kill them in their burgundy jump suits.”

As Greenfield writes, his view was not his own.

While modern-day black “leaders” such as Bush, Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Al Sharpton attempt to take the moral high ground and blame white racists for the war on drugs, however that does not comport with the facts.

Black community leaders, tired of seeing their neighborhoods destroyed by drugs and drug dealers advocated for the war on drugs to save their fellow blacks.

However black nationalists, Greenfield writes, railed against any kind of law enforcement for the sole purpose of dismantling our country and our institutions. Black Lives Matter is a primary example of that mindset. Leftists, with the same goal in mind, also attacked the criminal justice system.

How many black deaths is too many to achieve an overarching goal of destroying our country? 13,000? It is, he writes, a “small price to pay for the destruction of America.”

Look at the left’s obsession with abortion, which was a pet project of Margaret Sanger who founded Planned Parenthood, with the goal to eliminate as many black children as possible, hence why Planned Parenthood clinics are located primarily in low-income, black and minority areas.

Decriminalizing drugs is done for one reason and one reason only and it has zero to do with helping blacks, as the statistics outlined above spell out. Greenfield writes that short of reinstituting slavery, “it’s hard to think of a single policy more likely to quickly destroy black neighborhoods and kill black people.”

Pro-crime advocates, trying to drive a wedge between the minority community and law enforcement, claim they are trying to get rid of racial inequity, however they are the ones driving the racial inequity bus.

Most people realized decriminalizing drugs, in particular highly addictive ones such as heroin, cocaine and fentanyl was a bad idea.

If you want to destroy a country and maybe cause a race war in the process, what better way than to invent something called “systemic police racism” and push the narrative that the criminal justice system is racist and corrupt.

Then decriminalize drugs and achieve the same thing—the slow extinction of the black race—while blaming the system, then standing by and watching the system be taken apart.

“Thousands of dead black people are the Left’s latest achievement in anti racism, and equity,” Greenfield writes. “From Planned Parenthood to pro-crime, the only thing leftists really help black people do is die.”

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