VOCAL-NY Statement on NYPD Directive to Deprioritize Arrests of Drug Users, Dealers That Pose Little Public Safety Threat

Contact: Alyssa Aguilera, 917-200-1446, alyssa@vocal-ny.org

NEW YORK, NY – In response to NYPD directive to deprioritize arrests of drug users and dealers that pose little public safety threat from Alyssa Aguilera, Political Director, VOCAL-NY: 

“The past forty years of failed drug war tactics has done nothing to reduce drug use or enhance public safety in our communities. Instead, these tactics have fueled mass incarceration and perpetuated violence – and civil rights abuses – that disproportionately impact low-income communities of color. The NYPD’s directive to narcotics officers to deprioritize arrests of  individuals over 40 years old is a positive step and an indication of a more nuanced approach to drugs that focuses on preventing associated gun violence and other violent crime that poses an actual public safety threat. The truth, however, is that simple drug use, possession, and low-level sales are problems that the criminal justice system is ill equipped to solve, and even young people most prone to drug-related violence would be better served by social services, education, and job programs than arrests and incarceration.  We hope to see Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton continue on this path and address drug use and low-level sales with public health interventions and economic opportunity, not needless, costly, and ineffective criminalization.”

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Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY) is a statewide grassroots membership organization building power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration, along with the organizations that serve us, to create healthy and just communities.

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