Controversial CeaseFire Preaches Against Violence–But Not Drugs


Some are advocating a CeaseFire program for Wilmington, Del., similar to one in nearby Philadelphia, reports the Wilmington News-Journal. Philadelphia CeaseFire, a year-old program based at Temple University, aims to stem the city's street violence. But CeaseFire is controversial. It pays former gang members and drug dealers to preach against violence but not necessarily against drugs. Supporters of the approach liken it to public-health programs that have successfully slowed the HIV and AIDS epidemic by giving sterile needles to drug addicts.

Critics say CeaseFire's results are mixed. The idea has worked in some neighborhoods, but not others. And some argue there's no evidence of long-term success. But efforts in Chicago, Baltimore and Philadelphia have attracted the attention of some Wilmington leaders. With 21 murders so far this year, Wilmington could break its 2010 record of 27 murders. “There's no question Wilmington needs it,” said Dr. Glen Tinkoff, who sees gun violence first-hand as a trauma surgeon. He is working to create such a program at Wilmington Hospital. A significant element of the CeaseFire program targets people recovering from gunshot wounds, when they are most receptive to the anti-violence message.

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