War on Drugs

Drug Policy

War on Drugs

Our nation’s misguided and costly "War on Drugs" has undermined civil liberties in many ways — eroding protections against unlawful searches and seizures, imposing overly harsh sentences on individuals, disproportionately impacting communities of color. The ACLU of Washington Drug Policy Project works for policies that treat drug use as a public health concern, not a criminal justice matter, through public education, legislative advocacy, and litigation.
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Courts should review harsh sentences from ill-conceived drug laws
Lead: Law enforcement assisted diversion

Resources

Published: 
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Nearly thirty years ago, when he was 18 years old, Sy Eubanks had surgery for a knee injury he got while competing on his high school’s wrestling team. His doctor prescribed him opioid painkillers, the dangers of which are now widely known. All Sy knew was that he liked the feelings his prescription gave him and he wanted more.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
The Whatcom County Jail will provide people in the jail with opioid use disorder (OUD) the medications necessary to treat their addiction, according to the settlement agreement proposed in a class-action civil rights lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Washington.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, June 7, 2018
The ACLU of Washington has filed a class-action civil rights lawsuit against Whatcom County and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office for denying people with opioid use disorder (OUD) in the County Jail medications necessary to treat their addiction.
Published: 
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Civil liberties highlights from the 2018 Washington State Legislative Session
Published: 
Friday, March 4, 2016
Heavy-handed law enforcement is one of the primary ways society has attempted to deal with the complicated issue of drug abuse. Responding to problematic drug use from a public health perspective is a far better approach.
Published: 
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Too many people with mental illness and addictions end up behind bars. This isn't good for them, and it hasn't made the public any safer.
Published: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
When a juvenile is caught using or sharing an illegal drug, what is the appropriate community response? Should he or she be arrested and charged with a crime, or should he or she receive public health services?
Published: 
Friday, September 4, 2015
The War on Drugs has left thousands of people locked up under sentencing laws now widely viewed as discriminatory and not based in fact. An ACLU-WA brief is taking aim at the effects of an egregious Drug War policy: the lengthy sentences being served because of the government’s wrongheaded distinction between crack and powder cocaine, resulting in a 100:1 crack-powder disparity in sentences.

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