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The origins of U.S. drug policy and its ties to systemic racism

Patrick Sison

In a recent editorial published in the Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy pain management pharmacist Dan Arendt, PharmD, argues that you can find discriminatory policies all throughout the history of U.S. drug policy and that many of them are "designed for the purpose of enforcement rather than public health." In his own practice Dr. Arendt says some of his patients have been stigmatized as "drug seekers." Those who use opioids can be blamed for that use although they are a patient suffering from a painful condition.

Similarly Nicole Avant, Pharm.D. sees discriminatory practices in her field. She writes that "the pathway to better health is not through blaming Black communities for increased prevalence of certain diseases but dismantling systems that structure opportunity away from optimal health." Dr. Avant agues that the field of pharmacy needs teachings in race and socio-political construction as a minimal standard requirement.

In Dr. Arendt's editorial he explores the racist origins of U.S. drug policies and sets forth a solution with three key strategies for pharmacists to change the practice and deliver equitable care.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss delivering more equitable care in the field of pharmacy are University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy assistant professor of pharmacy practice and administrative sciences Daniel Arendt Pharm.D., BCPS; and Avant Consulting Group founder, owner and lead consultant Nicole Avant, Pharm.D., BCACP.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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