Van Jones expression of anger is justified
Bill Maher implied that Prince may have died because of drugs in some form. He wondered aloud why so many artists seem to have the problem not only with illegal drugs but with prescription drugs.
Van Jones pointed out that no one yet knows for sure whether Prince's death can be attributed to drugs. Jones then made a prescient statement.
"I am glad that we are finally able to have the conversation," Jones said. "I've watched the Republican Party hugging heroin addicted folks, opioid addicted folks. It makes me very happy. But also, make me very mad. Because those same Republicans and Democrats, when the problem was crack, showed no mercy, no compassion, no understanding, at all. And locked up a whole bunch of people. So I do think that now that it is hitting everybody, hopefully, we can come up with a more compassionate response."
As Jones pointed out, Republicans have expressed a recent interest in the penal system and drug abusers. Any idea why they are suddenly concerned? Jones tapped around the sad reality. The opioid epidemic is affecting whites both in absolute numbers and percentages.
White Americans of all ages are about twice as likely to die from a drug overdose as black Americans, and four times as likely to die of a drug overdose as Hispanics, based on the CDC data from 2014. These drug overdoses are mostly due to opioid addiction from both prescription pain killers and heroin. ... In 2014, white Americans between the age of 25-34 were dying by overdose at a rate that's roughly three times what it was in 2002, while the death rate for black Americans and Hispanics went relatively unchanged over that 12-year period. White Americans between 15 and 24 years old were roughly six times more likely to die from a drug overdose in 2014 than black Americans and about four times as likely to die than Hispanics.
Blacks and Latinos' lives were decimated as those who abused drugs entered the penal system, a punishment tantamount to wearing a Scarlett letter for life. Now that the problem is more severe in the white population, recalibration is starting to occur. We are likely to move from punishment to treatment.