Follows Visit from Portuguese Drug Czar

ASBURY PARK, NJ  – Help Not Handcuffs, Inc. today announced a mini-grant program focused on implementing drug decriminalization in the Asbury Park Area. The Asbury Park based NGO recently hosted Dr. Joao Goulao the Portuguese Drug Czar, for a series of discussions in Asbury Park, at Universities around that state and with the Administration of Governor Phil Murphy.

“What we learned was nothing less than Spectacular from Dr. Goulao’s visit” said Randy Thompson, CEO of Help Not Handcuffs, Inc. “While New Jersey follows a criminalization model and suffers 3,000+ overdoses a year, more than 50,000 drug arrests and a host of other prohibition caused harms. In contrast, Portugal decriminalized all drugs, as a result, experiences only a few dozen fatal overdoses a year, has eliminated drug possession arrests and spends a fraction of their taxpayer money that New Jersey does achieving superior results” Thompson said.

The mini-grant program will give area residents a chance to work with the non-profit against drug criminalization which has a racially disparate impact as well as disproportionate effects on women, immigrant, poor and LGBTQ populations. Grants can vary due to the organization’s needs but will be capped at $1,000 each. People who use drugs, have been impacted by the drug war, its attendant police and institutional violence, racism and other forms of prejudice will be prioritized to receive these grants. While the grants are open to the Greater Asbury Park area, residents of The City of Asbury Park will be given priority.


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Interested applicants should send a short personal message to [email protected] detailing their interests, organizing and advocacy skills, how they have been negatively impacted by the drug war (drug prohibition) and why they want to work towards achieving drug decriminalization in New Jersey. Messages should be no more than 250 words and include contact information. A representative will then reach out to schedule an interview for prospective candidates. Grants will be paid at the end of the agreed time period.

“We owe it to all the communities impacted by racially disparate mass incarceration, or who have lost loved ones needlessly to preventable overdoses, to those who have suffered police violence and sexual assault as a result of intensive drug enforcement, to those that have been separated from their children, or simply had their lives derailed by a drug prohibition arrest….we owe it to every community to see drug decriminalization implemented…..we look forward to working with you to achieve this goal” said Randy Thompson.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...