Santa Fe Mayor Javier M. Gonzales has introduced a resolution which establishes a Municipal Drug Strategy Task Force. The task force will work to find safe approaches to dealing with the city’s substance use problems in order to improve public health.
The task force aims to provide local solutions to a national epidemic, offering evidence-based strategies to reduce rates of drug use and drug overdose, decrease racial disparity in the treatment of offenders, and reduce incarceration.
The Santa Fe project uses a year-long strategy utilized by the city of Ithaca, New York, as a blueprint for its Municipal Drug Strategy. The Ithaca Plan: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drugs and Drug Policy acknowledges that most policymakers have determined that the war on drugs has been a failure, and there is a need for new approaches.
By moving away from the law enforcement approach that characterizes much of the drug policy in the U.S., the Ithaca Plan aims to obviate punitive responses for drug offenses and replace them with strategies that encourage better public health, harm reduction, and expanded access to addiction recovery treatment.
In order to better tackle the addiction problem in Ithaca, the plan laid out several different strategies to improve conditions overall. Some of these strategies are focused on prevention, targeting underlying elements that can contribute to problematic drug use, such as poverty, geographic isolation, and racism. Other strategies are focused on improving access to treatment, including closing gaps in addiction recovery treatment accessibility, increasing the efficacy of recovery treatment programs by adding sensitivity and cultural competence training and opening a dedicated drug detox clinic within the city.
Santa Fe’s task force will be charged with collaborating across the various fields of focus and providing recommendations for strategies involving prevention and addiction recovery treatment, as well as determining how law enforcement can best serve and protect those struggling with addiction and problematic substance use.
Beyond establishing the task force, the Resolution calls for… (continue reading)