The mayors of Ithaca, New York, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently explained the benefits of the implementation of a new Municipal Drug Strategy.

Ithaca and Santa Fe, like other cities in the U.S., have suffered from decades long punitive drug policies, which have led to mass incarceration and an epidemic of overdose deaths.

The Municipal Drug Strategy is based on the two premises that a criminal justice-driven response to people who use drugs violates their constitutional rights and that those who are closest to the harm from problematic drug use are the best informed to implement new solutions.

In Ithaca there has been an expansion of treatment providers, drug checking services, the distribution of naloxone and the implementation of a pre-arrest diversion program called the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD). There's also a plan to launch a supervised consumption space for drug users.

I urge the mayor of Galveston and city council members to take the lead in Texas and to follow the example of these two cities.

Phillip Brown



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