Ever wonder why police spend so much time enforcing failed drug laws? To find the answer, you just need to follow the money. Funding schemes and asset forfeiture laws have given law enforcement agencies strong financial incentives to continue the drug war. Because funding for drug task forces is often based on the number of arrests made and the amount of property seized in drug busts, the easiest way for local police to up their numbers and boost their careers is to target low-level drug offenders, not violent kingpins. To create arrest opportunities, police routinely rely on untrustworthy informants, conduct dangerous home invasions on flimsy evidence, frame suspects and commit perjury. Asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agencies to seize property with minimal proof, putting the burden instead on suspects to prove their own innocence. Because these assets often go straight into the coffers of the enforcement agency, these laws have created financial incentives for property seizures that encourage corruption. DPA is working to end distorted drug war incentives that foster police corruption and encourage good cops to make bad decisions.
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.
Two-Year Battle for Bail Reform Culminates in Comprehensive Legislation That Will Promote Justice, Fairness and Public Safety
Advocates Applaud Bi-Partisan Effort for Reform
Drug Policy Alliance, MAPS
This report, co-published by DPA and MAPS, illustrates a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence. The report’s case studies reveal a number of DEA practices that maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules.
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.
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.
DPA’s specific recommendations are to increase the Byrne Grant funding for substance use treatment, reduce funding for activities that arrest people for low-level drug offenses, and to eliminate the funding for marijuana suppression activities. Historically, Byrne Grants have been used primarily to finance drug task forces, which have a record of racially disproportionate low-level drug arrests and increased local and state costs with no measurable impact on public safety.
This report commissioned by the National Association of Social Workers calls for a public health approach to drug use and outlines the role social workers can play in shifting the current paradigm.