Monday, December 22, 2014

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The Call Blog: Reduce Marijuana Arrests, Increase Focus On Heroin?

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Every phone line was ringing for most of the hour tonight. There is no shortage of opinions of what to do about marijuana and heroin use in this city. The only question is, are the politicians listening?

Elected officials gathered at separate news conferences today to discuss ways to address the use of marijuana and heroin. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries called on the NYPD to reduce the number of low-level marijuana arrests, even though arrests dropped nine percent during the first three months of the year. Jeffries also noted 86 percent of those arrested are black and Hispanic.

Meantime, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined Police Commissioner Bill Bratton today to announce $1.17 million will be used to pay for almost 20,000 medical kits so patrol officers can respond to heroin overdoses. The program is being funded by money seized in drug busts. Police seized 786 pounds of heroin in New York City last year. And from 2010 to 2012, heroin-involved deaths increased 71%.

Do you want to see the NYPD scale back the number of arrests for marijuana possession? Why are 86 percent of arrests involving blacks and Hispanics? Do you welcome the distribution of medical kits and other efforts to address the rising use of heroin in New York? Has heroin use recently affected you or your family or friends?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Hi John

Both drugs are no good for the body, medical kits should be given to the NYPD officers, the reason why more blacks and hispanics are getting arrested is because they are doing it more.


Reduce low level arrests. Sounds like a way to help out the blacks and Latinos. The speaker said it herself. ID cards for illegal immigrants to obtain more benefits. What will happen when honest taxpayers leave and the city is on welfare . Who will they mooch off then?


I disagree with this pilot program - police officers are not trained to differentiate between a heroin overdose or any other medical emergency - that's why you have EMT's & Paramedics. That money would've been better spent in an effort to boost the number of EMS units available. Officers doing CPR is one thing - administering medication is another. What's next; the department of sanitation investigating homicides or fighting fires?

Pedro, Manhattan

Hi John,

Marijuana is still a drug = Have we all not been banned from smoking? Why is it the responsility of the police officers to administrate this overdose of herioin to save someones life. What will stop a bystander from implicating the officer for not being prompt or ept in saving a life of a person that has overdosed? This is not the responsibility of law enforcement. When will these kits be out on the street in the black market. Make no mistake about it but I wish I knew just what planet these politicians are on to think that heroin is on the rise. It has never left us just as all the other drugs that are on the market and you can also add the new ones to it.


Reason black and Hispanic rate is so high is because they use and peddle it more. To think otherwise is thinking like a fool.

Park Hill

We need to decriminalize marijuana at the very least. I would prefer that we make it legal. More persons of color are arrested because of racial profiling, plain and simple. I think we should decriminalize heroin too. There is more harm then good done by fighting this war on drugs. If we can control it's use and make it available to addicts, we would have far fewer trouble with crime and abuse of the drug.

Jackson Heights


Marijuana users can be issued a Criminal Court summons; however, when police officers observe sales, the sellers must be locked up like any other criminal.

Police officers are not EMTs or doctors. Cops should not be responsible for determining who overdosed on heroin and then be required to administer medication.

Commissioner Bratton does not run the NYPD; Mayor Deblasio and the city council do. As a NY resident, I felt much safer when former Police Commissioners actually ran the Department.

Midtown East

Soon police will be ticketing and arresting everyone here but criminals.


Both Clintons, W. Bush, Obama, Bloomberg, Cuomo and DeBlasio should all turn themselves in. There's nothing worse than the mendacity of hypocrites.


When people of color in the 70s and 80s were overdosing, they were disposable, criminals. Now that heroine users include white middle-class and affluent people (mostly 20 somethings) saving lives has become a component in the "war" on drugs.


Why isn't the stuff legal yet? It is used for medicinal purposes. It is relaxing and although I do not indulge anymore I found it to be quite pleasant. Never heard of a marijuana overdose have ya? Never heard of someone getting killed because they were under the influence of marijuana? However alcohol which can destroy the liver and pancreas and such is legal and I don't get it. Heroin is a different story. Very highly addictive and very hard to stop.



Whatever an individual inhales, imbibes or injects is nobody’s business including the police. All laws restricting such actions are violations of individual rights and are invalid. Those who impose them on us are criminals themselves.

Port Richmond, SI

I think police officers have enough responsibilities terrorism, daily hazards and risks, to add another task is overwhelming for the nypd. I believe that job pertains to fdny emt' s and paramedics.

Kenny from lower east side

The original anti marihuana laws were passed to enable police to arrest Black and Mexicans at will in the south. Even if nothing was found it could be--pardon the pun --planted on the person easily.

It has remained a tool for intimidation and control of the underclass, typically of color, and conveniently creates a justification for tacit racist idea that Black or Mexican people are somehow born more criminal.

Much support for the cameras. They will pay for themselves in no time, with fewer arrests and trials, fewer lawsuits, more community cooperation and trust, and will attract people to police work who are proud to have someone look over their shoulder. They may also provide top brass with a way of intervening in real time, as well as appraising the work of their units clearly.

Steven, Manhattan

Per the question about whether the police should carry heroin overdose kits: can someone explain WHY we want the government save them? Should it not be up for a vote in a democracy? What is the cost/benefit of keeping them alive? Is it not an opportunity to remove the people who use the most services and contribute the least?

Queens, NY

People born before 1940 are passing away. That is why there is more support to legalize weed.


When you have a magnifying glass on a community, you are going to find alot of issues. In low income areas of ny there are cops on every block all times of day. If the police and politicians care so much about drug use..they should head down to the meat packing district and Soho and check the people as they go in and out of the clubs! Since it statisitcially shows that whites use and distribute larger amounts of sure the cops will have a great turnout!


To deal with drugs problem, it is time for our elected officials to GET REAL, and go directly to the source of these drugs, NO MATTER what ever, OR WHOM EVER, the source is...even if it means violating the PC prime directive.

Flushing, NY

OH PLEASE with the gateway bull...... That is just an excuse for close minded people who know nothing about marijuana and it's medicinal effects it can have on people. why is it ok to have a glass of wine or a beer after work but not a joint... SIMPLE one is legal one is not. Alcohol is by far more dangerous than marijuana.

Bay Ridge

Alcohol is a gateway drug. Stop wasting time and resources on nonsense. Let the individual decide what they want to indulge in. These laws are a way to reach quotas.

Alan from Midwood.

Since Bratton and D blasio took office crime in NYC housing projects has gone up over 30%. We should bring back stop and frisk. Marijuana is a quality of life issue and it should be treated like a drug and it should be illegal. Police should not the responsability to treat medical conditions. That should be left to EMS.

Frank from Brooklyn

I have to disagree with everyone who is saying marijuana is a gateway drug. I have been smoking marijuana for years and I have never touched another drug, marijuana is just everyones excuse. I also have to ask why isnt it legal if cigarettes and alcohol can be legal?Many times I walk thru NYC and have to inhale that discusting smell of tobacco which is way more worse than the smell of marijuana but eveyone is allowed to do that freely. I feel there are far more thing the NYPD should be worried about like rapist, murderers, etc. Not a natural herb of the earth.

Brooklyn, NY

I believe that the police is not focusing in what they are supposed to be focusing on which is protecting the community not targeting the people. If the law says is ilegal then follow and obey and imposed the law but not only targeting only Afro Americans and hispanic. We are targeted more and more and that does not happen in cocatian neighborhoods. I work downtown and has seen cocatian people smoking everywhere the police pass by and don't even bother to stop and question those people. Therefore me as a hispanic that have never smoke before I can see the differences between the racism that happens every day in NYC. I walk on 42nd street last night and what I see is ridiculous!!! A bunch of cops chatting or texting on the phone!!! Is that what we pay taxes for? You should address that topic on tv one day.

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