Over the last 34 years I have dedicated myself “to protect and serve” the people of my community. But after more than three decades in law enforcement, I can say with certainty that the war on drugs is achieving precisely the opposite effect.
I support the Vienna Declaration because the global War on Drugs has produced staggering rates of death, disease, crime, and corruption.
When you think about the war on drugs and its effects I urge you to think about the real casualties:
I support the Vienna Declaration because I believe that drug policy should prevent these casualties, not cause them.
As a former police chief and a current member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, I advocate for drug policies that are based on proven, effective means of dealing with the harms associated with currently illicit drugs, that respect community health and safety, and that actually serve and protect.
In my experience, drug addiction is not a path that people willingly choose.
Those who suffer from addiction need and deserve access to services that can keep them and their loved ones safe and point them in the direction of recovery. Let’s stop this ideological war that cannot be won. Let’s instead adopt strategies that research has proven to be effective, that come without dire unintended consequences.
It’s time for a reorientation of drug policy. I encourage you to join me in signing the Vienna Declaration.
Norm Stamper, PhD, is a retired Seattle Police Chief, active member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing (2005) and Removing Managerial Barriers to Effective Police Leadership (1992).