STAT News (5 April 2024)

STAT News (5 April 2024)

Immigration policy treats people who use drugs or have an addiction as undesirable. This doesn't recognize the widespread drug use in the United States or the science that addiction is a treatable chronic disease. For many, this is an "out of sight, out of mind" issue, but we think it needs more attention. Stigma and discrimination against people with an addiction or who use drugs are driving federal policy in harmful ways.

The demagoguery of Prince Harry is an avatar for this issue, but countless more suffer from the sword of Damocles that is a result of this line of question for people entering our country. Drug use is not a character flaw. Addiction is not a moral failing.

We aim for this piece to start a broader discussion about modernizing immigration policy to be practical and aligned with public health.

I was honored to work on this op-ed with Giorgi Minasovi. They are a former Fulbright Scholar and graduate of Georgetown University's Master of Science in Addiction Policy & Practice. This op-ed stems from their master's thesis.

Does addiction make you un-American?
The rhetoric surrounding Prince Harry’s ability to live in the U.S. highlights the need to make the immigration system align with today’s scientific understanding of health care and human rights.