We must completely reform the criminal justice system from top to bottom, starting with the current U.S. Attorney General, Bill Barr.
While I understand the pain behind the calls to “Abolish the Police” etc., I think that they are simplistic and even counterproductive. Police misconduct is really just the visible part of the problem. We have overloaded the police with problems that would be better handled by trained social workers. We have given them impossible tasks, notably the Drug War, and especially marijuana prohibition, and we have hired people who clearly should not be trusted with the power of life and death.
Although no one will catch a “drug overdose” by sitting next to someone on a bus or at a bar, the widespread prevalence of drug abuse in a society does resemble an infectious disease epidemic in other ways.
The origins of the opioid epidemic is more complex, but a difference in policies produces a difference in results. First and foremost, the problem can be prevented by good public health policies and can be made much worse by bad social policies. Take for example the Netherlands, where the COVID-19 case rate soared in March, but had declined sharply by the end of June.
My old friend, Lester Grinspoon, died on June 24, his 92nd birthday, but I have waited over a week to write about it, because I wanted to see if either the New York Times or the Washington Post would print his obituary.