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Lead essayist Donna Murch writes that, “historically, the division between ‘dope’ and medicine was the race and class of users.” By using the concept of “racial capitalism” to examine the opioid crisis alongside the War on Drugs, Murch brings an otherwise familiar story into new territory. To understand the twisted logic that created the divergent responses to drug use—succor and sympathy for white users, prison and expulsion for people of color—Murch shows how a racialized regime of drug prohibitions led Purdue Pharma to market OxyContin specifically to whites.
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