Effective Drug Control: Toward a New Legal Framework
This major report, put out in March 2005, explores state-level regulations as a workable alternative to the “war on drugs.” Using the research of the Drug Policy Project’s Legal Frameworks Task Force, the report begins with the King County Bar Association’s Resolution for State Regulation and Control of Psychoactive Substances. The remainder of the report provides a comprehensive analysis of the past, present and future of drugs and drug laws, in the sections:
Drug-Related Crime and Disorder: Practical Policy Options
The Drug Policy Project’s Treatment Policy and Funding Task Force produced this white paper in May 2005, concluding that criminal justice exposure can be reduced through early intervention with drug addicts or substance-abusing offenders, including point-of-arrest interventions or referrals, and jail programs. The task force included judges, attorneys, university professors, public health officials, drug court administrators, law enforcement and physicians.
Is it Time to End the War on Drugs? An Examination of Current Law and Practice in Drug Abuse Prevention, Drug Addiction Treatment and the Use of Criminal Sanctions
In December 2001, the Drug Policy Project released its first major report. The report is a compilation of the reports issued by the Treatment, Prevention, and Criminal Sanctions Task Forces of the Drug Policy Project, which are detailed independently below. Combined the reports make the case for how the current “war on drugs” is failing society, a conclusion repeated in myriad reports and news articles, and how the problems of substance abuse would be better addressed through treatment and prevention in a public health approach, rather than through criminal sanctions. Leaving the question of what we should do instead led to the creation of the next major report, Effective Drug Control: Toward a New Legal Framework, detailed above.
- Report of the Task Force on Effective Drug Abuse Prevention
The Task Force on Effective Drug Abuse Prevention, chaired by former King County Bar Association President Steve DeForest, was established as part of the Drug Policy Project to study and report on current drug abuse prevention research, policies and programs. The Task Force’s report, released in late 2001, considers why young people begin to use drugs and highlights measures that have been shown to prevent, delay or reduce the harm from such use, including some noteworthy examples developed in Washington. The report also makes recommendations to help Washington improve, expand and provide adequate funding for the implementation of an effective, statewide substance abuse prevention plan.
- Report of the Treatment Task Force
The Task Force on Drug Addiction Treatment of the King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project was formed to report to the Board of Trustees on issues relating to treatment for addiction to drugs whose possession and sale are prohibited by current law. The Treatment Task Force report, published in late 2001, considers why, when and how the people of Washington should provide treatment for individuals who are addicted to such drugs, and makes recommendations with a view toward promoting the development and implementation of a comprehensive addiction-treatment plan for Washington. Task Force participants, including lawyers, judges, treatment professionals, and others with extensive academic and practical experience, gave their time to this effort in the hope of focusing the attention of public policy makers on ways to improve our societal response to drug addiction through the appropriate use of effective treatment strategies.
- Report of the Task Force on Use of Criminal Sanctions
The Task Force on the Use of Criminal Sanctions, chaired by former King County Bar Association President Mary Alice Theiler, was formed as part of the Drug Policy Project to examine current criminal sanctions, both in Washington and on the federal level, related to the non-medical use of drugs. The Task Force was charged with assessing the effectiveness of criminal sanctions in reducing both illegal drug use and drug-related crime, and also assessing the public costs associated with the use of criminal sanctions.
The principal focus of the Criminal Sanctions Task Force, and of the King County Bar Association’s Drug Policy Project as a whole, is the class of substances that is currently the target of the “War on Drugs.” The Task Force’s report, released in late 2001, mainly discusses those drugs whose possession and sale are prohibited by current law, but alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs are mentioned in passing, particularly for the purpose of comparing policy responses to drug use.
In addition to assessing the effectiveness and cost of drug-related criminal sanctions, the Criminal Sanctions Task Force evaluated the extent to which criminal sanctions are satisfying the objectives of the criminal law. The Task Force further reviewed the harmful side effects of the War on Drugs and recent attempts to reform the prevailing drug policy. The Task Force drew specific conclusions regarding the state response to drug use and the provision of drug addiction treatment; and, anticipating that statutory changes will be considered, formulated a set of principles to guide the development of an alternative approach to the problem of drug abuse that is more effective, less expensive and more humane.