The War on Drugs has been raging for over 40 years and has done more pumping up of police department budgets with body armor, firearms and bearcats than it has at affecting the drug trade at all. This “war ” then spills over into Jails and Prisons where addicts never get the help they need and recreational users take up valuable resources that could be used on criminals who actually harm others. Or there wouldn’t be the prison industrial complex there is today.
This vicious cycle goes on and on with no real conversation coming from police or jail officials on how to stop it. Most LEOs and Corrections Officer merely advocate for more state intervention to lock up more drug offenders. More gizmos & gadgets for police to do their jobs while leads to larger prison complexes with the ability to house more people who need help or have harmed no one.
Michael K. Covert, Chief of Police in Cooperstown NY, is leading his department with a new approach to what he calls an “opiate crisis” and “disease.” The chief released the following statement about the initiative via the Cooperstown Police Department Facebook page:
A message from Chief Covert
The Village, County and State have many programs and resources to deal with the opiate crisis. We are almost ready to make a revolutionary change in the way that we treat this DISEASE. The Cooperstown Police Department has vowed to take the following measures to assist, starting on Thanksgiving, November 26, 2015.
Any addict who walks into the Cooperstown Police Station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, syringes, etc.) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged. Instead, we will walk them through the system towards detox and recovery. We will assign them an “ANGEL” who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot. Bassett Medical Center has committed to helping fast track people that walk into the police station so that they can be assessed quickly and the proper care can be administered quickly.
I want to have Nasal NARCAN available at all local pharmacies without prescription. Pharmacies presently can give out syringes, but not the drug that can save an addict’s life. It is now legal in 12 states to give out nasal NARCAN without a prescription. I would like to get that law passed in New York State as well. I want to have a CD placed inside the kit that can be watched in the privacy of your home. The video will show how to make a 911 call about an overdose, how to start CPR and how to administer Nasal NARCAN. It will tell you what to expect when the Emergency Squad and Police show up. Lastly, it will offer a listing of all agencies which can provide assistance and support towards recovery. We truly need to be able to get the one drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose to families of addicts without the stigma of first obtaining a prescription.
I am asking for your help. “Like” this post and send it to everyone you can think of and ask them to do the same. Speak your comments, Create strength in numbers, We hope to be operational by sometime next week.
Together, we can help save a life.
I know there are a few other departments who’ve also tested this approach and it’s a noble effort. I still can’t help but feel that it’s merely a bandaid to a larger problem that isn’t being discussed. The basic principle of helping people instead of caging them is clearly a much better approach. Especially when jailing those who need help commonly cause more problems and has even resulted in some deaths. And though praise should be given to these departments for their efforts I think the time has come for an all out end to the “war on drugs.”
The police shouldn’t be dealing with people who have “diseases” [dealing meaning putting them into their system and not a medical system] because they are not medical professionals. The jails should not be housing people with addictions or medical concerns because they aren’t medical professionals and they are equipped to deal with such people. So though the Cooperstown Police have a noteworthy angle they’d be much better off if they simply refused to arrest anyone for drug possession. This would free up government budgets that allocate large amounts of funding to police and jails for drug users the state deems “criminals.” Money which could be used to help people in need, to whatever degree, and free up police and jail staff time to do things they’re (allegedly) professionals at.
I hope this is a start to an end and it won’t take police long to simply abandoned the fake “war on drugs.”