A woman hands someone clothing. They are in an urban tent settlement outdoors.

Community Reinvestment

Communities need resources to thrive. The U.S. government spends billions each year enforcing drug war prohibition. This money can be better spent supporting communities. This includes addressing the root causes of problematic drug use. The Drug Policy Alliance believes we must reinvest funds back into the communities most harmed by the drug war.

What is Community Reinvestment?

Policymakers invested in criminalization as a tool of social control. The criminalization of drugs was presented as a drug use deterrent. Criminalization is costly and ineffective. Community reinvestment means prioritizing city, state, and federal funds for the support communities need. For example, funding addiction services and social supports over more police.

Prohibition Has Wasted Billions

Each year, the U.S. spends an estimated $47 billion enforcing drug prohibition laws. Yet, overdose rates continue to rise. Illicit drugs are more potent than ever. Enforcement and arrest tear communities apart.

Source: Cato Institute

Reinvest In Health

People struggling with addiction need services and social supports. This includes evidence-based crisis response that does not rely on the police. Examples include addiction services, harm reduction programs, and permanent supportive housing.

Communities Should Drive Decisions

People are the experts in their lives on what they need. Communities most harmed by the drug war need to inform policy decisions. This especially includes communities of color and people experiencing poverty.

A woman hands someone clothing. They are in an urban tent settlement outdoors.

What DPA is Doing: 

  • Working on decriminalization measures at local, state, and federal levels. This includes Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Congress. Decriminalization ends arrests and incarceration for drug possession. It reinvests resources into health responses.
  • Advocating for marijuana legalization that includes community reinvestment. This includes the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act in New York. In Congress, it includes the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act and the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA).
  • Ensuring drug legalization and decriminalization efforts center racial equity, justice, and community reinvestment.

Stay informed on DPA's work around community reinvestment.

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