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Inside Story ·

Drug Addiction and the Paths to Prison

We learn how prosecutors can turn one of the darkest days in a mother’s life into a prison term, and hear Tarra Simmons’ journey from behind bars to writing laws.

Inside Story examines the cases of women who lost their pregnancies and faced charges because they tested positive for drugs while pregnant — a practice experts expect to increase now that Roe has been overturned.

Host Lawrence Bartley also sits down with Dr. Carl Hart, a Columbia University professor, to discuss his path to the study of drugs, addiction and racially-motivated drug policies.

Tarra Simmons recounts her early struggles with addiction, serving time behind bars, and how she became a member of the Washington state House of Representatives.

Bartley tells the story of his friend’s addiction to fentanyl and the discrimination he faced from fellow incarcerated people — a reminder, he says, to be compassionate to them.

Reading list:


Cary Aspinwall, Leslie Eaton, Andrew Cohen, Savannah Hugueley



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When you donate by December 31, your donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Marshall Project board member Abby Pucker. As a special thank-you gift, we'll also send you one of our exclusive Marshall Project tote bags.