McCarthy: Law Enforcement Has ‘War On Drugs’ All Wrong

CHICAGO (CBS) — At least a dozen community and social-action groups sponsored a rally at the Thompson Center on Friday calling for an end to the U.S. “war on drugs.”

It marks the 40th anniversary of the declaration by then-President Richard Nixon.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Chicago’s Police Supt. Garry McCarthy says they have a point.

“Law enforcement has gotten this wrong,” he said. “Narcotics use is a criminalized social issue. It causes crime. Drug dealers get into disputes over turf.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

“It’s about the money. Mafia guys whack each other over concrete businesses. It’s not about the concrete, it’s about the money.”

Simply busting a street corner drug dealer is the wrong approach, he said.

“If we just lock up a drug dealer, we may be actually causing violence. Because there’s an established market were somebody is going to go, seeking drugs. That’s demand. As long as that demand exists at a location, that supply will show back up.”

He says police need to follow up to reduce the demand, and social services needs to provide treatment for addicts and rebuild communities–not just throw people in jail.

McCarthy is Newsradio 780’s guest on “At Issue” this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

  • Citizen for a Livable Chicago

    Superintendent, I’m sure you were misquoted, but the police cannot reduce the demand for drugs, reduce the demand for social service needs, and provide treatement for addicts. That’s someone elses job. There should be better drug education for grammar and high school students. There should be better and more available drug treatment and no cost to the addicted. Our leaders through the years, both Dems and Repub. have failed America in this issue. Do not balme the police for the war on drugs not being successful. This is society’s failure assisted by the failed policies of the political system in this country. Our leaders keep talking about legalization, which in the long term would be the biggest mistake this country every made. But, if our leader want to talk legalization, can someone submit a business model on how it will be structured, who will sell it, where will it be sold, how will the govt. tax it, and who will make money off it. Please do not blame the police for the drug problem in America. In the end the individual makes the choice to use and sell drugs, and yes, the police are there to put the person in jail if nothing else works.

  • Steve

    Drug use should be a personal choice. Utilize the prison space for violent offenders.

  • JL

    I agree that if legalized it would be a huge mistake. Impaired people at the workplace, on the roads, if you take away the ramifications. Picture a society where everyone is on one thing or another. As an ex-user, I’ve seen somethings that just stops the train on the tracks. Lives are ruined, breeding more crime to go afford legalized drugs. I’ve seen people submerged or up for days, not being able to stop. Believe me, it is a hell on earth. There are no simple fixes. And a lot of people have no business drinking let alone anything else.

  • srdib

    legalize pot and you wont have these problems. its the same as booze, everyone is on something, booze pain meds, whatever

  • Republican

    Drugs should be legal. Driving while impaired should be a crime, public intoxication, etc. Same as alcohol. You’d shut the dealers down overnight and free up prison space for bad people.

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