(Host) Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand says it’s important to begin a discussion in Vermont concerning the state regulation of certain illegal drugs.
Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Sand said the 30-year-old “war on drugs” has been a failure and needs to be replaced.
(Sand) “By every measure we are worse off now than when we launched the war on drugs. Use rates are up. Addiction rate is up. Drug crime is up. Incarceration rates are up. Expenditures are up. Drug purity is up. Drug deaths are up. Frankly the only thing that has gone down are prices of illegal drugs, which is exactly the opposite result of what we would hope and what we would expect.”
(Host) Washington County State’s Attorney Tom Kelly strongly disagrees with Sand’s approach. Kelly thinks overall drug use will go up if the state regulates the sale of these products.
(Kelly) “The law is a teacher in effect and when you flip the switch and say these drugs are legal it sends the message that it’s ok. And will these problems associated with addiction increase or decrease?”
(Host) Some law enforcement officials believe that the number of armed robberies has increased significantly in Vermont in recent months because the perpetrators need to support an expensive drug habit.
But Kelly says he’s not convinced that crime rates will go down if the state makes these drugs available through a regulatory system.