What about on the state and federal level? Sending people to jail for nonviolent drug-related crimes?
I’m very skeptical about that. It doesn’t act as a deterrent. And it congests our jails with folks who aren’t a danger to society, and in many cases we have revolving doors--in which people who are a danger to society are let out. Where drug addiction is a disease, it should be treated as a disease. Where it’s a crime, it should be treated as a crime.
How much of a priority is drug policy reform for you?
I spent a lot of time teaching school in Bridgeport, so the degree to which I’ve devoted a lot of my time to education and working with kids, seeing kids whose lives have been ruined or at least interrupted by drug use, it’s emotionally very important to me. As a national priority where I’d devote a lot of my time, I’d like to be more constructive. I’d like to deal with education, jobs, positive things that could be a constructive alternative to drug use. That would be more my focus.