Non-profit LEAP claims current drug policies are ineffective, harmful to society

PHOENIX - Imagine a world where all drugs are legal. Not just marijuana, but meth, cocaine and even heroin. There's a group pushing that very message in Arizona, but you'll never believe who's behind this radical agenda. 

It's the non-profit, LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

They say it will help, not hurt society. They say it's impossible to regulate or control anything that's illegal. But, all of that changes when you legalize illicit drugs. 

This week, LEAP's co-founder is taking his message to our lawmakers in Arizona.

"The more dangerous the drug, the more reason to legalize it," says Jack Cole.

It's a seemingly unusual message from a man who spent nearly thirty years as a police detective fighting to end drug abuse.

But, Cole says don't be alarmed, he hasn't changed his mission.

"What we've changed our mind about is what will do it and it's not the war on drugs," which Cole calls a failed policy.

It's why he co-founded LEAP, the non-profit supported by various law enforcement from all over the world.

"For the last 30 years, in every governmental survey, kids in high school say it's easier to buy illicit drugs than it is to buy drugs and alcohol," Cole points out.

It's just one of the reasons he wants cocaine, meth and heroin regulated, similar to the way we treat and regulate alcohol sales.

"We didn't do it because we suddenly thought alcohol was a great drug, we should give it to all of our kids.  What we thought is, we can no longer take all of this murder, corruption of public officials. Yeah, alcohol is a problem, but it's a much greater problem when it's prohibited," he says.

But, substance abuse prevention expert, Shelly Mowrey, says don't be fooled.

"Prescription drugs are highly regulated. We have a prescription drug epidemic taking place in our country right now. So regulation doesn't mean safety," she points out.

She says legalizing drugs changes the perception those drugs aren't risky. Instead, she points to prevention campaigns, which she says have proven to work in Arizona.

"From 2003 to 2005, we had highest use of ecstasy rates across the country," Mowrey says. "We were able to change that, turn it around, and the ecstasy usage rates dropped 56%."

Still, Cole says when law enforcement officers aren't focused on getting drug dealers off the street; they can focus on crimes of violence like rape, child abuse and murder.

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