HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Syracuse Considers New Strategy On Drugs
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Oct 2004
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2004 Watertown Daily Times
Author: Associated Press
Cited: ReconciDer


SYRACUSE - Syracuse city lawmakers are examining local alternatives to
the war on drugs, asking for advice from national experts to help
develop a new drug policy.

"It's become increasingly apparent to a lot of different people that
the war on drugs is not working," said Stephanie Miner, chairwoman of
the council's finance committee.

"This is something that's going on across the country, and we want to
learn how other communities are dealing with it, and if there's a way
to spend money more efficiently," she said.

Miner's committee on Thursday conducted a fact-finding session with
four national experts. It will bring in more experts for a second
hearing in two weeks.

Other communities have made changes in emphasis and enforcement of
drug laws. But Thursday's hearing marks one of the few times a city
government has taken it upon itself to look critically at its approach
and investigate alternatives, said Nicholas Eyle, executive director
of ReconsiDer, an organization dedicated to reforming drug laws.

The city Council has no control over drug laws, which are approved by
the state and federal government. Members can, however, influence how
city money is spent fighting drugs and work to change the emphasis and
approach of city police toward drug use, Miner said.

The hearings stem from last year's critical city auditor's report on
the money spent by Syracuse police to enforce minor drug crimes, and
by increasing concern by city residents that a new approach is needed,
Miner said.
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