The War on Drugs is a war on people
Fifty years ago, President Nixon launched a War on Drugs that is actively harmful to the public health and well-being of both individuals and communities.
Drug war punishments fuel the risks of drug use and barriers to healing faced by people living with a substance use disorder. Drug prohibition has made the drug supply more toxic, fueling the overdose crisis, and set up punishments for drug use wherever public policies touch our lives.
During the height of the “tough on crime” era, New Jersey enacted some of the most punitive, wide-reaching drug war punishments in the nation. These punishments are now the status quo in New Jersey, where the primary home for drug policy continues to be in the criminal legal system. Indeed, over the past decade, New Jersey invested $11.6 billion to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate residents for drug war violations.
It is time for New Jersey to dismantle the War on Drugs and invest in equitable drug policies that promote public health and quality-of-life.
Harm reduction is essential. A harm reduction approach to drug use is the best strategy we have to end the overdose crisis, reduce risks associated with drug use, and affirm the dignity and bodily autonomy of every New Jerseyan.