I was born in the 1980s, the child of drug addicts who were hunted by law enforcement and given jail time when they needed rehabilitation. I was born into an era that shamed people into the shadows and into silence and told us that addiction was a moral failure of a dangerous group of people who needed to be locked away.
Recently, I sat in a packed Vienna auditorium in the early hours of the morning as countries raced against the clock to reach agreement on an outcome document on drug policy. Given the different histories, cultures and traditions of countries, reaching agreement on such documents was never an easy proposition. But the United Nations has always striven to build accord and amity.
Yesterday marked the launch of Albany's innovative Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, making New York's capital city the first jurisdiction on the East Coast, and only the third in the nation, to launch LEAD. Albany's reform approach highlights the growing role cities are playing in the growing national movement to end mass incarceration and the failed war on drugs.