Russell Simmons: The War on Drugs Made Victims of the Black Community

I’m particularly concerned about how the war on drugs has destroyed the fabric of the black community in America. I grew up in a lower middle-class neighbourhood in Queens that was destroyed by drugs. It was the heroin capital of Queens. Everybody shot dope. My friend in the eighth grade was shooting dope. I’ve seen the suffering first-hand and I’ve been involved in the suffering too. I used every drug there is, back in the day, but it didn’t make me a bad person: it just made me a sad person, a diseased person. It didn’t make me a criminal.

What would have made me a criminal is if I’d been arrested and sent to jail for 20 years, which could have happened easily. A great number of kids in my neighbourhood did go to jail, and they didn’t come out so well. They were educated in criminal behaviour, came home violent criminals, and became repeat offenders.

People make choices, it’s true. And culture helps them, sometimes, to make bad choices. Drugs are a hurtful choice. They don’t promote stable happiness. There’s nothing good about them.

– Read the entire article at The Observer.