Thursday, June 28, 2007

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Adopted Resolutions

June 2007


[p. 47]

WHEREAS, the United States Conference of Mayors has long been

concerned about substance abuse and its impacts on cities of all

sizes; and

WHEREAS, this Conference recognizes that addiction is a chronic

medical illness that is treatable, and drug treatment success

rates exceed those of many cancer therapies; and

WHEREAS, according to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and

Health, an estimated 112,085,000 Americans aged 12 or over

(46.1% of the US population aged 12 and over) have used an

illicit drug at least once; and

WHEREAS, the United States has 5% of the world’s population, but

25% of the world’s prisoners, incarcerating more than 2.3

million citizens in its prisons and jails, at a rate of one in

every 136 U.S. residents—the highest rate of incarceration in

the world; and

WHEREAS, 55% of all federal and over 20% of all state prisoners

are convicted of drug law violations, many serving mandatory

minimum sentences for simple possession offenses; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution at

its 74 Annual Meeting opposing mandatory minimum sentencing on

both the state and federal levels and urging the creation of

fair and effective sentencing policies; and

WHEREAS, drug treatment is cost-effective: a study by the RAND

Corporation found that every additional dollar invested in

substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.46 in societal

costs, a reduction that would cost 15 times as much in law

enforcement expenditure to achieve; and

WHEREAS, the National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study

shows substantial reductions in criminal behavior, with a 64%

decrease in all arrests after treatment, making public safety a

primary beneficiary of effective drug treatment programs; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a “Comprehensive

National Substance Abuse Strategy” at its 69 Annual Meeting,

and a “Comprehensive Drug Prevention and Treatment Policy” at

its 66 Annual Meeting, both of which called for treatment to be

made available to any American who struggles with drug abuse;


WHEREAS, federal, state, and local costs of the war on drugs

exceed $40 billion annually, yet drugs are still widely

available in every community, drug use and demand have not

decreased, and most drug prices have fallen while purity levels

have increased dramatically; and

WHEREAS, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy

(ONDCP), only 35% percent of the federal drug control budget is

spent on education, prevention and treatment combined, with the

remaining 65% devoted to law enforcement efforts; and

WHEREAS, over one-third of all HIV/AIDS cases and nearly two-

thirds of all new cases of hepatitis C in the U.S. are linked to

injection drug use with contaminated syringes, now the single

largest factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has, on three separate

occasions, adopted resolutions in support of expanded access to

sterile syringes by people who inject drugs as a public health

strategy to decrease the transmission of blood-borne diseases

and provide links to treatment without increasing drug use; and

WHEREAS, virtually all independent analyses have found ONDCP’s

drug prevention programs to be costly and ineffective: the

Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently found that both

the National Youth Anti-Drug Media campaign and the Drug Abuse

Resistance Education (DARE) program have not only failed to

reduce drug use, but instead might lead to unintended negative

consequences; and

WHEREAS, blacks, Latinos and other minorities use drugs at rates

comparable to whites, yet face disproportionate rates of arrest

and incarceration for drug law violations: among persons

convicted of drug felonies in state courts, 33% of convicted

white defendants received a prison sentence, while 51% of black

defendants received prison sentences; and

WHEREAS, women are the fastest growing prison population in the

U.S., increasing by over 700% since 1977, to 98,600 at the end

of 2005. Drug law violations now account for nearly one-third

of incarcerated women, compared to one-fifth of men; and

WHEREAS, at year end 2005, over 7 million U.S. residents—about

3.2% of the adult population, or 1 in every 32 adults—were

incarcerated or on probation or parole, of whom 28% were under

correctional supervision for a drug law violation; and

WHEREAS, at its 73 and 72 Annual Meetings, the U.S. Conference

of Mayors adopted a resolution to promote the successful reentry

of people leaving prison or jail, through job training,

transitional housing, family reunification, drug abuse and

mental health treatment, and the restoration of voting rights;


WHEREAS, the cost of local law enforcement and of providing

services to formerly incarcerated residents is borne primarily

by local governments; and

WHEREAS, cities across the country have experienced a rise in

violent crime and must prioritize scarce law enforcement

resources, yet the nation’s police arrested a record 786,545

individuals on marijuana related charges in 2005—almost 90% for

simple possession alone—far exceeding the total number of

arrests for all violent crimes combined; and

WHEREAS, there is no easy, “one-size-fits-all” solution to

substance abuse and drug-related harms: individual cities,

counties, and states face unique challenges and therefore

require local flexibility to pursue those policies that best

meet their specific needs;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference

of Mayors believes the war on drugs has failed and calls for a

New Bottom Line in U.S. drug policy, a public health approach

that concentrates more fully on reducing the negative

consequences associated with drug abuse, while ensuring that our

policies do not exacerbate these problems or create new social

problems of their own; establishes quantifiable, short- and

long-term objectives for drug policy; saves taxpayer money; and

holds state and federal agencies accountable; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that U.S. policy should not be measured

solely on drug use levels or number of people imprisoned, but

rather on the amount of drug-related harm reduced. At a

minimum, this includes: reducing drug overdose fatalities, the

spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis, the number of nonviolent drug

law offenders behind bars, and the racial disparities created or

exacerbated by the criminal justice system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that short- and long-term goals should be

set for reducing the problems associated with both drugs and the

war on drugs; and federal, state, and local drug agencies should

be judged – and funded – according to their ability to meet

specific performance indicators, with targets linked to local

conditions. A greater percentage of drug war funding should be

spent evaluating the efficacy of various strategies for reducing

drug related-harm; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a wide range of effective drug abuse

treatment options and supporting services must be made available

to all who need them, including: greater access to methadone and

other maintenance therapies; specially-tailored, integrated

services for families, minorities, rural communities and

individuals suffering from co-occurring disorders; and

effective, community-based drug treatment and other alternatives

to incarceration for nonviolent drug law offenders, policies

that reduce public spending while improving public safety; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference supports preventing

the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other infectious diseases

by eliminating the federal ban on funding of sterile syringe

exchange programs and encourages the adoption of local overdose

prevention strategies to reduce the harms of drug abuse; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the impact of drug use and drug policies

is most acutely felt on the local communities, and therefore

local needs and priorities of drug policy can be best

identified, implemented and assessed at the local level. A

successful national strategy to reduce substance abuse and

related harms must invest in the health of our cities and give

cities, counties, and states the flexibility they need to find

the most effective way to deal with drugs, save taxpayer dollars

and keep their communities safe.


Original URL, see page 47 et seq.:

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