Heroin and opiate addiction have become a major issue in the state. The death tolls are rising and more families are impacted. What ideas do you have to deal with the crisis?

Local policing approaches that place the focus of officers on saving lives, through education, treatment and compassion, are the appropriate strategy for dealing with this epidemic as opposed to conducting a drug “war” that leads to mass incarceration rates with a disparate impact on young men of color. We can save thousands of lives with better success at rehabilitation if we utilize social services, medicines such as Naloxone, and stronger community-police relations, which in turn reduce violent crime. Law enforcement officers are currently talking about having the ability to help positively change someone’s life and their commitment to this important work. This way of thinking should be strongly reinforced. The intersection between public health and law enforcement can improve our understanding of addiction. We must intentionally employ public health and local policing strategies to effectively solve a wide range of crime problems, being smarter about ensuring public safety.

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