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SXSW 2021

Decriminalize Drugs to Save Lives & Build Justice

Voters in Oregon made history with the decision to decriminalize drugs and invest in a public health response. This landmark comes amidst the worsening US epidemic of overdose, claiming more than 80,000 lives last year. Overdose is preventable, but stigma, moralism, and criminalization have made it a deadly risk. Moreover, criminalization has been used as a weapon against Black and brown communities, interrupting futures with disproportionately high rates of incarceration and child removal, despite similar rates of drug use across racial-ethnic lines. Find out what happens when a reverend, a criminal justice professional, a public health expert, and a harm reduction advocate get together to discuss a future that decriminalizes drugs, centers racial justice, and shapes a harm reduction landscape. 

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  1. Understand how criminalization affects overdose.
  2. Discuss harm reduction strategies.
  3. Describe the racial justice opportunity of drug decriminalization.



Ally Davis, Manager Pr And Marketing, Vital Strategies

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