Pro-Legalization Cops Defend NYC's Safer Heroin Use Booklet -- Information is Antidote to Deadly "War on Drugs," Police Say

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A group of police officers who support drug legalization is pushing back against the DEA for its criticism of a New York City-funded booklet that encourages heroin users to adopt safer practices.

LEAP

Providing users with tips on how to keep themselves as safe as possible and reduce the spread of disease makes us all safer and cuts down on public health and criminal justice expenses elsewhere. The booklet is like a vaccine that helps reduce some of the harm related to heroin abuse. Who could be against that?

A group of police officers, judges and prosecutors who fought in the "war on drugs" and witnessed its failures is pushing back against the DEA for its criticism of a New York City-funded booklet that encourages heroin users to adopt safer practices. The group, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), points out that the booklet is intended to prevent overdose deaths and help reverse the high rate of disease transmission related to injection drug use.

"While we all want to stop addiction to dangerous drugs like heroin, the fact is that some people do choose to use despite the billions of dollars we spend on the failed 'war on drugs,'" said Norm Stamper, a speaker for LEAP and Seattle's retired chief of police. "Providing users with tips on how to keep themselves as safe as possible and reduce the spread of disease makes us all safer and cuts down on public health and criminal justice expenses elsewhere. The booklet is like a vaccine that helps reduce some of the harm related to heroin abuse. Who could be against that?"

Still, New York state's top DEA official, John P. Gilbride criticized the booklet, telling CNN that, 'Using heroin can never be safe. It's akin to playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun.'

The DEA's criticism of the booklet comes just weeks after President Obama signed a bill lifting a ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs, which are intended to make heroin use safer for users and nonusers alike, and are proven to reduce disease transmission.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a 15,000-member organization representing police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others from around the world who want to legalize and regulate all drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More information available at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.

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