This week is Super Tuesday, the biggest event of the 2016 presidential primary elections, with 13 states and one territory voting on which candidates to send to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Large-scale losers will stand little chance of progressing, given the breadth of demographics and cultures that these states represent. This year, the burning issues of opioid overdose and marijuana legalization have forced presidential candidates to repeatedly comment, however foolishly , on drug policy—something they typically prefer to avoid.
But “drug problems” are far more varied than the soundbites suggest. For example, drugs that happen to be legal can be associated with just as many harms—or more —as those that don’t (we should always remember that most drug use is not problematic ). The laws around drugs can be just as damaging —or more—as the substances themselves. And media portrayals of drug issues have a habit of reflecting societal prejudices.
The drug problems suffered by these five Super Tuesday states reflect the diversity of what’s happening across the country.
In Alaska, police and officials grappling with alcohol-related…