The Obama Administration’s Drug Policy Doubletalk

The Drug Czar Talks About Public Health, But Still Wants to Arrest People for Drugs The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released its 2014 National Drug Control Strategy today. The strategy has shifted some from previous years in that it more clearly focuses on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse, such as overdose and the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases, while also reducing the harms associated with punitive drug … [Read more...]

Drug Enforcement Gone Wrong

Should we allow cops posing as students to trick kids into breaking laws? esse Snodgrass had recently transferred to Chaparral High School in Temecula and was feeling out of place and alone in 2012 when a boy named Dan, another newcomer, befriended him. Jesse, a 17-year-old autistic student, wasn't good at making friends and he was pleased by the overture. But there was something he didn't know about Dan: He was an undercover narcotics officer attending class at Chaparral hoping to bust student … [Read more...]

Time to Change California Drug Laws

he global war on drugs has failed." That's the first sentence of the executive summary of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a commission on which I serve. The commission was established to bring to the international level an informed, science-based discussion about humane and effective ways to reduce the harm caused by drugs. I am here in San Francisco this week to talk about just that. The war on drugs is a complete failure, with overwhelming effects for individuals and societies in … [Read more...]

Racially Coded Language Hurts Everyone Who Struggles With Addiction

've learned in my four years in the drug policy reform field that if you wait long enough, the same ill-informed and racist drug war propaganda will be rehashed over and over again. As I read the New York Times this weekend, drug war propaganda leaped off the page in the article “Addicted in Staten Island.” The article read, in part: "across the country, one of the most significant social shifts of the 21st century has been the migration of drug use from centers of urban poverty to places that … [Read more...]

Banks Launder Billions of Illegal Cartel Money While Snubbing Legal Marijuana Businesses

n the past few weeks, violence in the western Mexican state of Michoacán has been rapidly escalating. The government’s inability to deal with the powerful cartels has led to citizens taking the law into their own hands – by forming armed vigilante groups. The bloodshed caused by this development has now led to the deployment of Mexican soldiers into the region, which in turn has caused further civilian deaths. The failure of both the vigilantes and the army to quell the cartel’s carnage is a … [Read more...]

What to Watch in Drug Policy in 2014

013 was a landmark year in unraveling the disastrous war on drugs. We reached the tipping point on legalizing marijuana for adults. Attorney General Holder denounced the mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenses that drive mass incarceration. Health reformers expanded the public’s access to effective drug treatments, to sterile syringes that prevent the spread of disease and to the overdose antidote naloxone. We should anticipate even more progress toward rational drug policies … [Read more...]