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Does The Constant Stress of Racial Injustice Create The Urge To Self Medicate Through Drugs?

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Host Naimah Latif

Host Naimah Latif

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As many commemorate the date of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King today, we look back on the emotionally distressful conditions of his time, created by a climate of extreme racial injustice. After the turbulent period of the 1960's, the scourge of drugs seemed to escalate, particularly in poor African American communities. Why? Drug addiction is a problem everywhere, but it seems to especially flourish in communities where unemployment is high and opportunities for self development are low. There is a biological reason that people who are living under a constant state of stress are prone to drug addiction; the body is seeking relief from the absence of endorphins, the hormones that create a calming effect on the body. When people living in a constant state of apprehension of eviction, utilities shut off, arrest, and random acts of violence, they are often prone to seek an artificial means of relief. The "war on drugs" initiated in the 1970s was merely an excuse to incarcerate those who succumbed to the need to self through marijuana and other drugs because of the stress created by their environment. Rev. Paul Jakes Jr. discusses today's commemoration of Dr. King and his goal to remove the stress of racial injustice from the American culture. Later, Christopher Thompson discusses the new legal availability of a natural hemp based product that may remove the cycle of arrest and jail created by sales and use of marijuana.

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