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.
“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.