By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp So what happens when troops start questioning the assumptions of the war they signed up for? We’re seeing the answer now with the War on Drugs. This war is going to end because those on the front line realize that most of it doesn’t make any sense. Nationally, an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is dedicated to the proposition that the War on Drugs is a failure. Its speakers bureau of former police officers has been making this case across the country for over twelve years. Now local voices are coming forward. Two months ago we wrote about the police chief of Gloucester, Massachusetts, who last winter experienced four deaths in his district due to heroin overdose within two months. He couldn’t take it anymore. He announced that if addicts needed help and came into his office, he would not arrest them. He would get them into treatment.
Increasingly, Protestants denominations are responding to the War on Drugs, which over the past 44 years has failed to reduce drug use, damaged countless lives, and contributed to the mass incarceration that shames our country. On June 20, 2015 the New England Conference of United Methodists, comprised of over 600 congregations, passed Resolution 15-203: TO END THE WAR ON DRUGS. It is expected that the resolution will be reviewed in June 2016 by the Methodist General Conference, which meets every four years to consider changes in the Methodist Book of Discipline. We are grateful to Rev. Eric Dupee, Pastor of Crawford Memorial Church in Winchester, MA, for describing the steps he took in introducing the resolution. We applaud his leadership.
Today’s guest blogger is Bill Fried, Director of Programs and Financial Administration for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition [LEAP]. At LEAP, Bill creates and oversees such programs as Cops and Clergy; he also has extensive experience in the non-profit field and his opinion pieces have appeared in the Boston Globe and on National Public Radio.