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F23 Daniel Thursz Lecture

Anti-Racist Approaches to Drug Decriminalization: Thinking Beyond Public Health

Wednesday November 8, 2023

6:00 PM -7:30 PM

In-Person or Virtual

Drug decriminalization has often been grounded in public health frameworks. While these have gone a long way toward developing policies that seek to mitigate harms of carceral drug policies, they have also pathologized Black communities and focused interventions on the individual. Anti-Black policies and programming have created their own harms; they result in surveillance, extraction, and channeling funds to institutions and professionals who are largely from outside of the communities that have been harmed by drug policy. Recent scholarship using African-centered lenses documents alternative approaches to drug decriminalization. These include use of reparations to support community-led efforts to address the economic and social harms that build on existing knowledge, networks, and strengths that exist in communities that have been the target of failed drug policies for decades.

This University of Maryland School of Social Work Daniel Thursz Social Justice Event will be offered as a panel discussion with interactive dialogue:

Learning Objectives

1. Attendees will understand the general contours and limitations of public health approaches to drug decriminalization.

2. Attendees will learn about reparations to communities harmed by the War on Drugs and other anti-Black drug policies and programs

3. Attendees will consider how to apply an African-centered lens to drug policy and to decriminalization efforts.

4. Attendees will identify actions to support and promote advocacy to advance.



Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle

Community Justice and Equity (CJaE) Initiative


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