Many U.S. cities are taking steps to reduce the role of criminalization in their local drug policies. Seattle, Washington has been at the forefront of this effort, pioneering a novel pre-booking diversion program for minor drug law violations known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD). Santa Fe, New Mexico, Albany, New York, and several other cities have begun exploring this promising new strategy to improve public safety and health.

Portugal enacted one of the most extensive drug law reforms in the world when it decriminalized low-level possession and use of all illicit drugs more than a decade ago.  Results of the Portuguese experience demonstrate that drug decriminalization – alongside a serious investment in treatment and harm reduction services – can significantly improve public safety and health.

Under HAT, pharmacological heroin is administered under strict controls in a clinical setting to those who have failed in other treatments like methadone. Every published evaluation of HAT has shown extremely positive outcomes: major reductions in illicit drug use, crime, disease and overdose; and improvements in health, wellbeing, social reintegration and treatment retention. More than a half dozen countries in Europe and Canada have implemented heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) programs.

There is an extensive body of literature documenting the stigma associated with alcohol and other drug problems. No physical or psychiatric condition is more associated with social disapproval and discrimination than substance dependence. For people who use drugs, or are recovering from problematic drug use, stigma can be a barrier to a wide range of opportunities and rights.

Getting needed social services and support can be particularly challenging for people with drug convictions.  This fact sheet answers common questions about eligibility for three of the most helpful social support programs: Food Stamps/SNAP, Cash Assistance/GA and Medicaid.

The current system for classifying illegal (and most legal) drugs is flawed, outdated and unscientific. Marijuana should be reclassified in order to facilitate research, ensure patient access, and permit its legal regulation. Established by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, this system erroneously places marijuana in the most restrictive class, Schedule I, reserved for drugs with a "high potential for abuse”, "no currently accepted medical use" and a “lack of accepted safety."

List of states with 911 Good Samaritan laws and/or naloxone access policies in place.

On January 1, 2013, California became the tenth state to implement a 911 Good Samaritan overdose fatality prevention law. This law is designed to encourage people to quickly seek medical care for an overdose victim by providing limited protection from arrest, charge and/or prosecution for low-level drug law violations. DPA and our allies spearheaded the passage of this law – and we are now working throughout the state to ensure its effective implementation.

In November 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington State took the historic step of rejecting the decades-long failed policy of marijuana prohibition by deciding to permit the legal regulation of marijuana sales, cultivation and distribution for adults. This document explains why states can chart a different course without violating federal law, and summarizes the similarities and differences between Colorado and Washington State’s new laws.

Personal sovereignty informs both the LGBT liberation and drug policy reform movements. Police surveillance and repression, along with stigma and moral panic, have been used to great effect against both LGBT individuals and people who use drugs.

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