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Legalizing Pot is Sound Policy and Social Justice

BY NATHAN RILEY | Legalizing recreational pot is a matter of justice and sound public policy. Starting January 11, the State Assembly begins laying the groundwork for legalizing such use in New York. If successful, that would mark a major step toward criminal justice reform. When I scheduled for State Senator Carol Bellamy’s 1977 race for […]

Murder Prosecutions of Low-Level Sellers Stymie Public Health

BY NATHAN RILEY | Drug law reformers are pushing back against a new wave of counterproductive cruelty from prohibition-minded law enforcement seeking to prevent drug use with harsh sentences. Drug users and low-level sellers are being accused of drug-induced homicides (DIH) in ever-greater numbers, according to a new report by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). […]

No New Money, No New Ideas in Trump’s Opioid Response

No New Money, No New Ideas in Trump’s Opioid Response

BY NATHAN RILEY | Donald Trump’s declaration of a public health emergency to end the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths wraps itself in virtue, but avoids the burning question about the nation’s drug policy: What works? During the 1990s, Switzerland and Portugal were among the nations that experienced the growth in opioid use seen here in […]

Drug Reformers Declare Solutions Must Be Sweeping

Drug Reformers Declare Solutions Must Be Sweeping

BY NATHAN RILEY | Activists from across the globe gathered in Atlanta October 11-14 to plot strategy for defanging drug prohibition in the United States. The conference, called by the Drug Policy Alliance, scrambled to balance recognition of the limited possibility for gains and the conviction that justice demands sweeping reforms. Michelle Alexander, whose 2010 book […]

Not the Time for a Constitutional Convention

BY NATHAN RILEY | Vote against the constitutional convention this November. The most basic reason: it is scarcely a year since Bernie Sanders showed that a resurgent left wants sweeping reforms, but babies must crawl before they can walk. The relationship among varying factions of the Democratic coalition remains strained, with many Dems still viewing Sanders […]

Democrats of New Stripes

BY NATHAN RILEY | Kiss the 1990s goodbye should be the wish of anyone who wants American politics to shift course. Democrats must overcome their fear of being labeled “too liberal, too long.” Simply put, a party made up of feminists, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, Latinos, blacks, and progressive whites can’t pretend not to be liberal. […]

The Worst Elements Trump Just Can’t Quit

BY NATHAN RILEY | In raising the alarm about the threat of Islamist terrorism, President Donald Trump had perhaps no more potent symbol of its randomness than images of vehicles plowing into unsuspecting innocent crowds in Western European cities. But the terrorist incident that struck Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend was not the work of […]

Time For Radical Activism on Overdose Deaths

BY NATHAN RILEY AND PAUL SCHINDLER | A wave of revulsion and anger swept through the drug reform community with the news that the New York City health department’s final count for 2016 overdose deaths was 1,347. That’s a 46 percent increase from 2015. The sixth consecutive year of rising deaths from unintentional “poisonings.” Every seven […]

Time for Resistance to Jeff Sessions’ Drug War

Time for Resistance to Jeff Sessions’ Drug War

BY NATHAN RILEY | It’s a question of will; you want to solve the drug problem, give them the max, says Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the man Donald Trump chose to be his attorney general. In line with that thinking, Sessions is torpedoing a three-year experiment that encourages leniency before its impact could be examined. Sessions’ […]

Modest Advance on Drug Harm Reduction

BY NATHAN RILEY | Unable to quell a steep increase in overdose deaths, New York City has opted to create a Municipal Drug Strategy Advisory Council that will include drug users and propose new policies and pilot programs that could save lives and give a helping hand to beleaguered opiate users. However, the new inter-agency […]

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