New York State has made substantial progress in moderating its approach to illegal drugs. While these reforms have made the system more humane, it has failed to reduce spending.
There are elements within the criminal justice system that are resisting the reforms, and this costs the state and local governments a lot of taxpayer money. It no longer makes sense to spend millions of dollars on sophisticated operations to catch drug dealers when the end result is treatment. A large chunk of drug enforcement is focused on marijuana possession, which should be legal.
The only answer is to take the profit out of the market for illegal drugs. At the same time, the focus should be on keeping drugs out of our schools and protecting children so they don’t get started on the path to substance abuse.