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The Washington Post Magazine

Ted Alcorn

30 November 2021

Rio Arriba, New Mexico, United States

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Since 2018, Judge Jason Lidyard of Rio Arriba County, N.M., has forged a new model for a drug court. Instead of demanding abstinence from drugs as the price to stay out of jail, Lidyard uses respect and personal relat...

The Boston Globe

Dan Adams

28 November 2021

Massachusetts, United States

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In 2018, Massachusetts legislators passed a law allowing people with certain lower-level criminal records to seal the records or expunge convictions altogether. The law was meant to remove the burden that a criminal r...

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Alexander Lekhtman

4 October 2021

Denver, Colorado, United States

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Since Denver voters approved the decriminalization of the natural psychedelic drug psilocybin, the small number of arrests grew even smaller and one supporter of the policy sees growing interest in the therapeutic use...

The Sprawl

Hamdi Issawi

22 June 2021

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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In less than three and a half years, Safeworks, the only supervised drug-use site in Calgary, saved thousands of people from opioid-overdose deaths and helped users for whom abstinence-based treatment didn't work. The...

CNBC

Nathaniel Lee

17 June 2021

United States

Broadcast TV News

Over 15 Minutes

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Fifty years on, America's war on drugs has failed at its principal goals: to eradicate illicit drug use and sales, to repair communities damaged by the drug trade, and to prevent drug-related deaths. Despite massive a...

Ricochet

Christopher Curtis

11 June 2021

St-Jérôme, Quebec, Canada

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To reduce overdose deaths from the increasing number of deadly substances found in street drugs, Centre SIDA Amitié uses lab testing to help understand exactly what drugs users are putting in their bodies and how to s...

Dissent Magazine

Michelle Chen

16 April 2021

Penobscot Indian Island Reservation, Maine, United States

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Like standard drug courts, the Penobscot Nation's Healing to Wellness Court refers people facing drug-related criminal charges to substance abuse counseling as an alternative to punishment. But this court and other tr...

The Charlotte Observer

Devna Bose

13 April 2021

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

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The Mecklenburg County district attorney stopped prosecuting non-violent, low-level drug cases to free up resources to handle a backlog of more serious cases that built up during the pandemic. The policy had the effec...

Undark

Elana Gordon

31 March 2021

Portugal

Podcast

Over 15 Minutes

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In the 20 years since Portugal decriminalized possession of personal amounts of all drugs, deaths from HIV and overdoses declined and more people take advantage of expanded drug treatment programs. Treating the countr...

Next City

Cinnamon Janzer

5 March 2021

California, United States

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After California legalized marijuana, it offered people a way to erase their marijuana-related criminal records. But few tried, in part because the process was difficult. Code for America's Clear My Record initiative ...

Vice

Max Daly

1 February 2021

New York, New York, United States

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From 2009 through 2019, street arrests for drug possession and sales fell by 80% in New York City, sparing hundreds of thousands of people harsh incarceration terms while defying warnings that more lenient enforcement...

Poynter

Amaris Castillo

25 January 2021

Mexico

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The Cartel Project formed an international team of journalists that produced a five-part series on the murder of Mexican journalist Regina Martinez. The series also explored the subjects that Martinez's killers attemp...

The New York Times

Ian Austen

23 January 2021

Canada

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Since Canada legalized recreational use of marijuana two years ago, prosecutions for possession of small amounts of the drug have all but disappeared, erasing a major racial disparity in Canadian law enforcement. But ...

Next City

Roshan Abraham

5 January 2021

Portugal

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After Portugal decriminalized hard drugs in 2001 to treat drug use as a health problem and not a crime, the country expanded treatment services that produced sharp drops in drug-overdose deaths and HIV infections. Its...

Missouri Independent

Rebecca Rivas

30 December 2020

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

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Missouri legislators passed a law in 2019 clarifying that prosecutors can divert criminal cases to social services and healthcare agencies even before charges are filed. Small experiments that had been taking place in...

The Philadelphia Citizen

Courtney Duchene

22 December 2020

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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When Pennsylvania's largest medical-marijuana dispensary, TerraVida Holistic Centers, struggled to find enough employees, given the state's ban on the industry's employment of people with marijuana convictions, TerraV...

Stateline

Christine Vestal

18 December 2020

United States

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Rules changes designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at drug-treatment clinics had the benefit of improving access to treatment, which experts say has saved thousands of lives. Although overdose deaths have increa...

The Boston Globe

Dan Adams

2 November 2020

United States

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Drug courts can help some people with serious drug problems who face serious criminal charges, if such court programs are run carefully, based on evidence-based approaches. But, too often, such courts – which push cri...

BBC

Rebecca Kesby

19 October 2020

Portugal

Radio

5-15 Minutes

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When Portugal became the first country to decriminalize personal possession and use of small amounts of drugs, choosing to shift to treating drug abuse as a health rather than a criminal matter, the feared downside of...

Vice

Max Daly

16 October 2020

United Kingdom

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Four UK police forces have adopted drug-decriminalization policies over the past five years, diverting hundreds of cases toward treatment and harm-reduction counseling, and away from criminal convictions, fines, and i...

Capital Daily

Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin

11 September 2020

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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Legalized marijuana sales in Canada were supposed to make the industry safe, stable, and prosperous. But the rollout of licenses for pre-existing private dispensaries has turned into a debacle for small businesses in ...

100 Days in Appalachia

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

22 July 2020

Cherokee, North Carolina, United States

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reacted to COVID-19 with aggressive measures that yielded fewer illnesses than in neighboring counties, and no deaths, all without outside help. But one of their preventive measure...

Las Vegas Optic

Ryan Lowery

4 June 2020

Alamosa, Colorado, United States

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The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program in Alamosa, Colorado, gives police officers the option of sending people to substance abuse treatment rather than straight into the criminal justice system. Used i...

Secret Structures

Anastassia Gliadkovskaya

20 December 2019

United States

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The CDC's 2016 guidelines on prescribing opioids for chronic pain attempted to address the opioid-addiction crisis by restricting the supply of the drugs at their source. The guidelines discouraged their use when poss...

Columbia Missourian

Sarah Haselhorst

17 December 2019

Columbia, Missouri, United States

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In Boone County, Missouri the Habilitation Empowerment Accountability Therapy (HEAT) program offers young men an alternative to incarceration for drug-related offenses. The program works primarily with black men, many...

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