Teach-In Tuesday: The Disproportionate Impact of the War on Drugs

Anti-racism button

Join us for a lecture and discussion about the War on Drugs.

Date & Time:

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM


OEC Auditorium

O'Shaughnessy Educational Center

Join the College of Arts and Sciences for the second event in its Teach-In Tuesday series. In partnership with the Department of Psychology, this event will include a lecture and discussion regarding the War on Drugs, and its disproportionate impact on African Americans and communities of color.

Teach-In Tuesday is an initiative coordinated by the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Office. It is a collective effort by faculty, staff, students and administration to share knowledge as a means of building a more diverse and inclusive community. At each event, faculty, staff and students will gather to learn about and discuss various issues such as economic inequality, gun control, environmental justice and race, all while leveraging the expertise of our faculty.

We have included a list of resources below to help prepare attendees for a timely and relevant discussion.

Teach-In Tuesday Topic Description

The United States has been fighting the War on Drugs for the past 40 years. With the declaration of the War on Drugs came changes in policing strategies, drug sentencing guidelines, media attention on drugs and a large increase in the number of people incarcerated in the United States for drug-related crimes. In the past 40 years, the War on Drugs has disproportionately affected African Americans and communities of color. The disproportionate impact of the War on Drugs is not reflected by racial differences in drug use, calling attention to the fact that the War on Drugs has been racially biased. The long-lasting consequences of this disproportionate impact of the War on Drugs include mass incarceration of people of color and the repercussions of incarceration for individuals, families and communities. 

Pre-reading and supplementary materials on the War on Drugs

  • University of St. Thomas Library - https://libguides.stthomas.edu/teachintues
  • Article: Cracks in the System: 20 Years of the Unjust Federal Crack Cocaine Law (Link)
  • Film: The House I Live In (2012), directed by Eugene Jarecki
  • Film: 13th (2016), directed by Ava DuVernay
  • Article: King, R.S. & Mauer, M. (2006). The war on marijuana: the transformation of the war on drugs in the 1990s. Harm Reduction Journal, 3 (6), 1-17.
  • Article: Jensen, E.L., Gerber, J., & Mosher, C. (2004). Social consequences of the War on Drugs: the legacy of failed policy. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 15 (1), 100-121.
  • Article: American Civil Liberties Union (2006). Cracks in the system: twenty years of the unjust federal crack cocaine law.
  • Article: Levy-Pounds, N. (2014). Going up in smoke: the impacts of the drug war on young black men. Albany Government Law Review, 14, 560-585.
  • Book: Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York, NY: New York Press.
  • Book: Hart, C. (2013). High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
  • Book: Mauer, M. (2006). Race to incarcerate. New York, NY: New York Press. 


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