How Drug-Free School Zones Backfired

“We found several instances of judges chastising police for setting up undercover buys in drug-free school zones, and criminal defense lawyers told us it was not an uncommon occurrence,” said Ciaramella. “It’s contrary to the entire purpose of the zone—to keep drugs out—and gives the appearance that police are more interested in slapping drug offenders with enhanced sentences than keeping kids safe.

And those longer sentences?

In many states they have effectively meant harsher penalties for poor people, because drug-free school zones were expanded to include public housing. People in relatively wealthy neighborhoods thus risked one punishment for selling or possessing drugs, while people in relatively poor neighborhoods risked a much harsher penalty. The disparity contributed to racial inequities in sentencing and incarceration. Taxpayers were on the hook for bigger prison bills.”


How Obama’s Housing Policies Destroyed Black Wealth

Prescription drug abuse increasingly seen as a major U.S. public health problem

Today, 76% of the public says that prescription drug abuse is an extremely or very serious public health problem in America, compared with 63% who said the same in 2013.”

Concerns about mental illness are also up slightly from 2013. Currently, 72% say mental illness is an extremely or very serious public health problem, compared with 67% who said this four years ago

Nearly eight-in-ten whites (79%) say prescription drug abuse as an extremely or very serious public health problem, a 17-percentage-point increase from 2013. Among nonwhites, 73% view prescription drug abuse as a major problem, little changed from four years ago (65%).

Two-thirds of nonwhites say smoking is an extremely or very serious public health problem, while 42% of whites say the same.

Many Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (78%) say mental illness is an extremely or very serious public health problem, compared with 63% of Republicans and Republican leaners. The partisan gap is about as large in views of AIDS, with 54% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans viewing it as at least a very serious public health concern.

How wealth inequality has changed in the U.S. since the Great Recession, by race, ethnicity and income


Among lower- and middle-income households, white families have four times as much wealth as black families and three times as much as Hispanic families.

Lower-income white families experienced greater losses in wealth during the recession than lower-income black and Hispanic families did.

The share of lower-income white households that have no wealth or are in debt was higher in 2016 than in 2007, but the opposite is true among lower-income black and Hispanic households.

Racial and ethnic wealth inequality among middle-income families increased with the recession and has not retreated in the recovery.

Wealth gaps between upper-income families and lower- and middle-income families are at the highest levels recorded.

Upper-income white families have grown wealthier.