Jun 8, 2019

The war on drugs anchors prison profits

Marijuana plants lined up in a driveway. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post/Getty Images

For-profit prison companies boomed alongside the war on drugs, which led to a 171% increase in drug arrests between 1980 and 2016.

By the numbers: About 1.6 million people were arrested on drug-related charges in 2017, roughly 85% of which were possession-related.

The backdrop:

Fast-forward: The approach to illicit drug use is shifting from criminal punishment to addiction treatment — largely due to the opioid crisis, which has disproportionately impacted white Americans.

  • President Trump recently signed a bill dedicating $6 billion in funding to the opioid crisis.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 candidate, proposed a $100 billion plan to battle the opioid crisis last month.
  • What they're saying: "I've worked in drug policy for over a decade and I've certainly seen a softening up," Theshia Naidoo, legal director of the Drug Policy Alliance's Criminal Justice department, told Axios.

What's next: The path to decriminalization might eventually shift to legalization. Marijuana is legal in 10 states and Washington, D.C., Denver and Oakland have even decriminalized mushrooms.

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Tariff worries hit record high amid coronavirus outbreak

Data: CivicScience, margin of error ±1 percentage points; Chart: Axios Visuals

Concern about President Trump's tariffs on U.S imports grew to record high levels among Americans last month, particularly as more lost their jobs and concern about the novel coronavirus increased.

Driving the news: About seven in 10 people said they were at least somewhat concerned about tariffs in March, according to the latest survey from CivicScience provided first to Axios.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Largest 24-hour spike in fatalities

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll from the novel coronavirus surged to its highest one-day total on Tuesday, as the U.S. saw its largest 24-hour spike in fatalities, per Johns Hopkins data. Recorded deaths across the U.S. surpassed 12,900 early Wednesday.

Why it matters: State officials have stressed that lockdowns must continue even if cities begin to see slight improvements from social distancing. Several hot spots, including New York, New Orleans, and Detroit, are expected to peak in the coming days.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,430,453 — Total deaths: 82,133 — Total recoveries: 301,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 399,081 — Total deaths: 12,907 — Total recoveries: 22,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Trump said he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that the crisis could kill more than half a million Americans.
  4. States latest: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 200 million masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks."
  5. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  6. World updates: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  7. 2020 latest: Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13. Thousands of residents cast ballots in person.
  8. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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