Drug Control Panels

A task force appointed by the New York County Lawyers' Association has condemned the war on drugs, calling for "a dramatic shift in thinking and approach." Its report, prepared by a 42- member panel of judges, legislators, attorneys, physicians, educators, and scholars, says the current penal model of drug control should be replaced with a "public health" approach that seeks to reduce the harm caused by prohibition as well as the harm caused by drug use. The report's recommendations include decriminalization of marijuana, elimination of mandatory minimum sentences, early release of nonviolent drug offenders, alternatives to incarceration, and expansion of needle exchange programs. It also calls for "state and federal bipartisan interdisciplinary commissions to make proposals for drug law reform." (The report is available at http://www.drcnet. org/nycla.html on the World Wide Web.)

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