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LEADing the way in dealing with substance abuse problems

The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), an innovative pre-booking diversion pilot program, has now been operating since the fall of 2011.

The ACLU of Washington is proud to be part of LEAD’s Policy Coordinating Group and believes that LEAD offers a more pragmatic and cost-effective way for dealing with substance abuse problems than traditional criminal law enforcement.

Instead of arresting low-level drug offenders and prosecuting them, law enforcement diverts them to community-based treatment and support services.

LEAD was developed with the community to address the open air drug markets in Seattle and King County. The pilot project is currently operating in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood and will soon expand to the Skyway neighborhood of unincorporated King County.

A new website has been created for the LEAD program (, which provides a good overview of the program.

King County TV has also produced a short segment on LEAD:

(Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see You Tube's privacy statement on their website and Google's privacy statement on theirs to learn more. To view the ACLU's privacy statement, click here.)

This sounds like a great

This sounds like a great thing. There is no reason to arrest the low level drug users who just need some counseling and maybe rehab. The ones to really go after are the dealers who are perpetuating the problem.


The drug problem is probably not as bad as what some people think in the United States according to the official blog because of the stigma that goes along with it.

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