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How the War on Drugs Destroyed My Family

The punishments my father, brother and sister experienced--arrest, incarceration and HIV/AIDS--for misusing a controlled substance caused a lifetime of grief for my family.

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Drugs like naloxone and health care motivated by compassion are the alternatives to prohibition. Harm-reduction uses public health to educate. It uses medicine to intervene and make people more comfortable with their lives. I join with you. I join with Moms United all over the world to say, stop saying that using drugs is a crime. With patience and compassion we can help people live longer, healthier lives.


Joyce A. Rivera is founder and executive director of St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction, adjunct lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and steering committee member of MomsUnited to end the drug war.