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

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.

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.