Decriminalizing all drugs can reduce government spending and generate tax revenues, freeing up resources to expand treatment services for substance use and mental health disorders and other community services. Bassett, who served as a doctor in Harlem in the 1980s and later as New York City's health commissioner, wrote: “I saw firsthand the devastation caused by the criminalization of drug use, particularly among communities of color. Fear of punishment drove drug use underground, causing overdoses The war on drugs led to thousands of arrests of black people for drug violations, mostly for possession, he said. In addition, drug convictions that create barriers to housing, education and employment have entrenched entire communities in generations of poverty.
Legal regulation, which drug policy advocates support, includes rules to control who can access what drug and when, rather than a free market or full legalization. Include “defelonizing drug possession by reducing it to a misdemeanor (which the Oregon legislature just passed last week), decriminalizing or legalizing possession of marijuana, establishing pre-arrest diversion programs, such as law enforcement assisted diversion (LEAD), and enacting 911 Good Samaritan laws, which allow limited decriminalization at the site of an overdose for persons who witness and seek emergency medical assistance.