Over the past decade, abuse of prescription opioids such as Oxycontin and Percocet has come to affect over two million Americans, precipitating a quadrupling in overdose fatalities. The spike in opioid related deaths within White communities in particular has visibly shocked and alarmed the media, the public, and policy makers. The so-called “new epidemic” has been widely and consistently framed as affecting "blameless victims” and "good people"—ostensibly those individuals who, within American public consciousness, are not associated with drug abuse.
Drug epidemics in this country have historically been addressed by using harshly putative legal measures, most notably exemplified by the War on Drugs in low income communities of color. The wake of the opioid spike leads us again to the question: Whose lives matter? And, how are the media narratives and concurrent policy efforts about this issue informed by intersecting race and class biases?
For Episode 8, co-hosts Marcel Rosa-Salas