Dismantling the Drug War in States: A Comprehensive Framework for Drug Decriminalization and Shifting to a Public Health Approach

Since the launch of the modern drug war fifty years ago by President Nixon, states throughout the United States have not only replicated the harsh federal system of criminalizing drug use and  possession, they raced to the bottom to enact the most punitive policies possible. The time has come for states to enact broader, more thoughtful approaches centered around decriminalization of drug use and possession and the many other activities associated with drug use.

Comprehensive approaches to drug decriminalization must:

  • Minimize coercion and harm to people who use drugs
  • Center the voices of people who have been most impacted
  • Invest in communities most harmed by the war on drugs

View the state framework (PDF)

Drug Decriminalization
Fact Sheet