NYC lawmaker proposes city drug strategy office that blends public health with public safety

Associated Press

A New York City lawmaker wants to create a drug policy agency that would focus as much on health as on policing.

City Council Health Committee Chairman Corey Johnson plans to formally introduce the proposal Thursday.

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The drug strategy office would advise city leaders on lowering drug-related deaths and disease along with crime.

It also would suggest coordinated solutions to a problem that can span government agencies with different objectives.

Advocates say it would be one of a few local agencies of its kind nationwide. They say New York's size would make it a showcase for less punitive, more public-health-minded drug policies.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's office had no immediate comment.

The city has special drug courts and a taskforce addressing how the criminal justice system addresses addiction.