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    • "Anyone caught here with a small amount of drugs — even heroin — isn’t typically prosecuted. Instead, that person is steered toward social services to get help.

      This model is becoming the consensus preference among public health experts in the U.S. and abroad. Still, it shocks many Americans to see no criminal penalty for using drugs illegally, so it takes courage and vision to adopt this approach: a partial retreat in the war on drugs coupled with a stepped-up campaign against addiction."

      Has the war on drugs been a mistake? There are now as many citizens with arrest records as with college diplomas. But this huge number of incarcerated people has not turned the tide on narcotics.

      In contrast, Seattle started a program called LEAD, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion.

      "The idea is that instead of simply arresting drug users for narcotics or prostitution, police officers watch for those who are nonviolent and want help, and divert them to social service programs and intensive case management."

      It has been a big success. 58% of those assigned to LEAD were less likely to be rearrested compared to the control group.

      There is a lot more info in this article about how the program has been successful.

      Summed up by one participant:

      “I just paid my rent again yesterday,” he said, beaming. “I’m not in your car stealing your stereo. I’m paying damn taxes now.”

    • I'm encouraged by the success of their program. I was in Seattle last year and they had plenty of homeless and obviously addicted people to go around. We stayed in the downtown area and frankly, if I hadn't been there for work, I would have never stayed there.

      Of course, it was nowhere near as bad as San Francisco, where I'm a first responder and get to see The City's failed policies up close and personal. Perhaps our city leaders can take a trip to Seattle to see what's working?

    • It's super exciting to see the progress Seattle is making.

      Did you see the landmark judgement made yesterday against J&J?

      NORMAN, Okla. — A judge Monday found Johnson & Johnson responsible for fueling Oklahoma’s opioid crisis, ordering the health-care company to pay $572 million to remedy the devastation wrought by the epidemic on the state and its residents.

      There are 2000 pending suits across the country that hope to seek reparations from big pharma for the over-distribution of opioids, and will use this outcome as a precedent. Likely, billions will be paid out to jurisdictions across the country.

      It seems that OK plans to spend that money in a similar fashion as Seattle does, on social services. I hope this is a trend of moving criminal blame on opioid users to civil judgments on companies like J&J. And that the money that follows will be used to treat users with Seattle as an example.

    • We watched Dave Chapelle’s new comedy special Sticks & Stones on Netflix last night. It’s super funny but he makes some meaningful points, like treating drug addiction as sickness instead of criminality makes all the difference.