“This is a drug conspiracy case that involves murders,” Judge Brian Cogan told government prosecutors. “I’m not going to let you try a murder conspiracy case that happens to involve drugs.” The trial of what the prosecution calls the “greatest 21st century criminal” is due to open next Monday in Brooklyn, NY.
At least five states have reclassified simple drug possession from a felony to misdemeanor since 2014 in an effort to reduce prison populations—and it seems to be working, according to a new report released by the Urban Institute. The results support a growing body of evidence that shows treatment, not incarceration, is the most effective way to address drug addiction, as the country continues to grapple with the opioid crisis, according to the study.
Despite recent “scare” stories, there’s no evidence that simply touching fentanyl can lead to overdoses. No one disputes that it’s a dangerous drug, but unsupported fears about the effects of exposure could make first responders less willing to help individuals who are overdosing, writes TCR’s columnist on addiction issues. Meanwhile AP reports on a new test strip that can help heroin users detect fentanyl.
The spread of marijuana legalization may account for some of the decline, say the author of the study in the Addictive Behaviors journal. But they add more research is needed to understand the role that peer pressure and behavioral problems play in substance abuse disorders among young people.
Possessing or using a drug would become a misdemeanor offense, with a maximum punishment of 180 days and a $1,000 fine if the proposed amendment passes. The proposal was backed by a coalition of community, law enforcement, faith and business leaders who “want our state to invest in proven treatment for addiction instead of more spending on bloated prisons,” said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Hoyt.
While doctors are prescribing fewer opioids, criminal organizations have been capitalizing on the nation’s rising opioid dependency by producing and distributing an abundant supply of illicit and lethal drugs, says a new study by the American Action Forum.
The president said this week that America will be able to stop the flow of incoming drugs “once the wall is up” on the Mexican border. But a DEA report suggests that smuggled narcotics are more likely to arrive by truck, boat or airplane.
The recommendation by the White House Commission headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would effectively nationalize a move already taking place in numerous states. Declarations by Florida, Arizona and Maryland have granted those governments access to millions of dollars and, in some cases, regulatory leeway in administering their responses. The White House said it would “immediately review” the report.