Actor Wendell Pierce responded to President Trump’s declaration of the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis by slamming the difference in how drug addiction is treated for white and black Americans.
“Crack epidemic destroys a poor Black community. The war on drugs,” Pierce tweeted. “Opioid epidemic destroys a poor White community: National Public Health Crisis.”
Crack epidemic destroys a poor Black community.The war on drugs.Opioid epidemic destroys a poor White community: NationalPublicHealth Crisis— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) October 26, 2017
Pierce, who starred in HBO’s “The Wire,” a show that dealt with drug addiction and race relations in Baltimore, is referring to “tough on crime” policies that emerged in response to the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s, which disproportionately affected black Americans.
The war on drugs marked the beginning of a rise in mass incarceration, which has also affected primarily non-white Americans.
The opioid addiction epidemic, in contrast, has mostly affected white communities.
Trump on Thursday declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, stopping short of the full national emergency declaration he had promised for weeks.
"It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction,” Trump said Thursday. “We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”