Over the past four decades, federal and state governments have poured over $1 trillion into drug war spending and relied on taxpayers to foot the bill. Unfortunately, these tax dollars have gone to waste. In 1980, the United States had 50,000 people behind bars for drug law violations – now we have more than half a million. The U.S. is now the world’s largest jailer, drugs remain widely available and treatment resources are scarce. Not only have billions of tax dollars been wasted, but drug war spending has also resulted in the defunding of other important services. Money funneled into drug enforcement has meant less funding for more serious crime and has left essential education, health, social service and public safety programs struggling to operate on meager funding. The Drug Policy Alliance is working to shift funding away from the same old failed policies and toward effective drug treatment and education programs. We are leading the movement to end prohibition’s drain on our economy and to protect your tax dollars from wasteful drug war spending.
Learn more about our priorities for fiscal responsibility.
Global Commission on Drug Policy
This report reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Global Commission, which includes Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, and the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. They not only reiterate their demands for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches – but now also call for responsible legal regulation of currently-illegal drugs.
Extreme Racial Disparities Persist: 86% of arrests are young Black and Latino Men, Even Though Young White Men Use Marijuana At Higher Rates
Analysis: Significant Drop in Stop-and-Frisk Does Not End Marijuana Possession Arrests; Advocates Call for Focused Plan to End Biased Arrests
NEW YORK: Today the Marijuana Arrest Research Project released data showing that racially bias marijuana arrests continue to be one of the leading arrests in New York City, despite the precipitous drop in stop and frisks.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. and the world, and was a well-established medicine until it was federally criminalized in 1937. A majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legally regulated.
Number of people arrested for marijuana law violations in 2012.
To highlight the atrocities that have gone on in Riverside County high schools and hopefully prevent future ones, the Drug Policy Alliance sent this letter to 20 school district superintendents in Riverside County urging them not to allow undercover law enforcement operations on their campuses. Such operations are ineffective at combating drug availability on campus and worse, they inflict irreparable harm on young people struggling with the challenges of adolescence or special needs. The letter also informed schools about the potential legal liability for allowing such operatio
A series of synthetic products have emerged that simulate the effects of prohibited drugs like marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine. Often called “legal highs” or “research chemicals” and largely unregulated, these drugs may cause considerably more harm than the substances they are designed to mimic. While states and Congress have rushed to prohibit these chemicals, manufacturers have simply invented new variations of the same substances to skirt the bans.
After first attempting to prohibit various synthetic drugs, New Zealand realized that simply banning these substances was unrealistic and ineffective. In July 2013, the country’s Parliament enacted an historic new law that will regulate and control – rather than criminalize – so-called “bath salts” and other new synthetic drugs.
Most Expansive Drug Sentencing Reform in Decades Would Reduce Mandatory Minimums, Give Judges More Discretion, and Release Some Nonviolent Drug Offenders from Prison Early
Prosecutors Still Opposing Efforts to Bring Racial Justice and Common Sense to Nation’s Criminal Justice System
Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan sentencing reform legislation that would reduce the federal prison population, decrease racial disparities, save taxpayer money, and reunite nonviolent drug law offenders with their families sooner. The reforms are supported by a strange bedfellows group of senators, including Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Drug Policy Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents a remarkable opportunity for criminal justice and drug policy reform advocates to advance efforts to enact policy changes that promote safe and healthy communities, without excessively relying on criminal justice solutions that have become so prevalent under the war on drugs, and which fall so disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color.
U.S. drug policies in Mexico and Central America, focused on militarized counter-narcotics efforts known as the war on drugs, have had severely negative effects on the region. This report analyzes the effects in four areas – militarization, drug policy, violence against women, and forced migration – and examines the impact on three countries: Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
Sign-On Letter Highlights Numerous Recent DEA Scandals: Secret Use of NSA and CIA Surveillance Records, Unfettered Access to Citizens’ Phone Records, and Many More
Signatories Call on Congress to Hold the DEA Accountable for Systematic, Illegal Practices
More than 120 groups from across the political spectrum and around the globe, including the ACLU, Witness for Peace, Drug Policy Alliance, and the International Drug Policy Consortium (a global network of 106 NGOs) sent a letter to Congress today, calling on key legislators from the House and Senate Judiciary and Oversight Committees to hold hearings on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).