The NAACP on Tuesday passed what it called a “historic” resolution calling for an end to the war on drugs.
The resolution comes as world leaders are taking a hard look at the 40-year “war,” and also as new data shows widened racial disparities within the U.S.
“Today the NAACP has taken a major step towards equity, justice and effective law enforcement,” NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said in a statement Monday. The resolution was approved by delegates at the annual NAACP convention in Los Angeles. “These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.”
The NAACP noted that African Americans are 13 times more likely to go to jail for the same drug-related offense than their white counterparts. The resolution endorses the expansion of rehabilitation and treatment programs as an alternative to sending drug offenders to prison. It also endorses the expansion of methadone clinics and other proven treatment protocols.
Robert Rooks, director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program, said in a statement that the war on drugs has created “a system of racial disparities that rivals Jim Crow policies of the 1960’s.”