Lessons I’ve Learned from Investigating the Opioid Epidemic

It’s okay to change your mind

Charlotte Bismuth
GEN

--

Photo by Roger Bradshaw on Unsplash

First, a disclaimer: my family and I have been fortunate to remain safe. That’s a great privilege these days, as overdose numbers skyrocket.

Still, my work over the past 11 years as a prosecutor and author has changed me.

It’s simple stuff. In fact, it may seem obvious. I hope it does — maybe things really have changed since I attended law school and worked in a big firm.

But I suspect not. Business and law schools are still churning out graduates whose careers require them to invest in the status quo. There’s still tremendous political hesitation — if not outright opposition — to harm reduction initiatives.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • It’s ok to change your mind. In fact, it’s really important to be open to changes of mind. I didn’t understand the complexity, diversity, and challenges of substance use disorder and drug use when I first started working as a prosecutor in 2008. I’m still working to understand it now, through books and conversations. As a result, I’ve understood the urgency and importance of harm reduction.
  • No one owns this story. You will definitely often catch me recommending other authors’ books or articles about the opioid…

--

--

Charlotte Bismuth
GEN
Writer for

Author of “Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher,” former Manhattan ADA , Columbia Law School grad, occasional legal cartoonist.