Why the crack epidemic and ‘tough on crime’ still linger

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A Los Angeles Police Officer counts the number of doses of Crack cocaine,  as he files an evidence police report Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2006.  (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

A Los Angeles Police Officer counts the number of doses of Crack cocaine, as he files an evidence police report Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2006. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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‘Tough on crime’ policies instituted in the 1980s to address the crack epidemic disproportionately affected African Americans. With the rise of the opioid crisis, attitudes about punishment have largely shifted. Now, people struggling with addiction are treated more like patients who need treatment than criminals who deserve jail time. But Asbury Park Press reporters Shannon Mullen and Austin Bogues explain why vestiges of the crack epidemic remain in drug enforcement today — and still hurt black people.

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