[image credit: seattletimes.com]
Justice Department has limited resources to treat drug offenders
Even though 50% of the U.S. population now lives in states where marijuana is legal, law enforcement is still focused on prohibition. Even in communities where drug dependency is treated as a public health issue, officers may have limited resources when encountering users .
Solution: Connect local law officers with human services
The logical approach is a shift toward a strategy that reduces demand for drugs, not just the supply.
Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program is a clear example. LEAD is a collaboration effort between police and human services to redirect people arrested for low-level drug crimes from jail to treatment, mental-health care, housing and job training. With research showing it reduces recidivism by about 60 percent, no wonder that cities from Santa Fe, N.M., to Albany, N.Y., have begun copying it.