Communities need a health-focused approach to drugs. Yet, drug offenses are one of the leading causes of arrest in the U.S. The U.S. must stop arresting and jailing people for drugs. Instead, they should reinvest the savings into addiction services and social supports. This includes voluntary treatment, housing, employment, harm reduction, recovery services, and peer support. The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization advocating for drug decriminalization.
Drug decriminalization means that people are no longer arrested or incarcerated for drugs for personal use. No longer enforcing personal drug possession saves money. These savings can go towards needed services and supports. This includes voluntary treatment, housing, employment, harm reduction, recovery services, and peer support. Drug decriminalization does not legalize drugs.
Possession of even small amounts of drugs can have lifelong consequences. This includes preventing a person from getting a job, a student loan, or a place to live.
Divesting from criminalization allows us to invest in needed supports. This includes housing, job training, and voluntary treatment. Evidence shows that investing in these services helps people thrive.Source: The Sentencing Project, Berkeley
In 2020, voters made Oregon the first U.S. state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs. Drug possession arrests significantly decreased. Additionally, $302 million has already been invested in the first two years for addiction services.Source: Oregon Criminal Justice Commission