November 19, 2019 2:30 PM to 4:30 PMUptown Campus
The opioid epidemic sweeping the country affects virtually every American, directly or indirectly, often in deeply personal ways. After viewing a short video and reviewing the below issue advisory guide participants will deliberate together about how we should approach the issue. The three options presented reflect different ways of understanding what is at stake and force us to think about what matters most to us when we face difficult problems that involve all of us and that do not have perfect solutions. ■ Should we consider de-criminalizing the use of drugs and focus on dealers and distributors, or does that invite more young people than ever to give dangerous drugs a try? ■ Should we do more to strictly enforce current drug laws on dealers and users alike, or will that simply create a revolving door of largely nonviolent offenders through already overcrowded jails? ■ Should we recognize that drug addiction is a public health problem and provide treatment centers for everyone who needs them, or does this do little to prevent people from becoming addicted in the first place? ■ Should we do much more to regulate the health-care professions and pharmaceutical companies, which have played a central role in prescribing and distributing opioids, or will this approach cause serious suffering for many patients who depend on opioids to relieve chronic pain? The concerns that underlie this issue are not confined to party affiliation, nor are they captured by labels like “conservative” or “liberal.” The research involved in developing the guide included interviews and conversations with Americans from all walks of life, as well as surveys of nonpartisan publicopinion research, subject-matter scans, and reviews of initial drafts by people with direct experience with the subject. (above description modified from NIF issue guide)
Review this issue advisory guide ahead of time if you can.