Over the years, much of the focus of drug war reformers has been on the detrimental effects of U.S. militarization of countries in the Andean region like Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. Other advocates have examined the negative effects of law and order policies on the domestic front when it comes to drugs, particularly as it pertains to large urban areas like NY, Chicago and Los Angeles. Naturally, the people disproportionately affected by these policies continue to be black and latino men.
But as local governments continue doing the same thing to combat drugs, an urgent call is being made to change the focus of the drug war. Neill Franklin is a 33-year Maryland State police veteran who led anti-narcotics task forces in the past. After seeing so many colleagues killed in the line of fire, he left the police force to join forces with the organization LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition LEAP represents police officers who believe in narcotics regulation as opposed to criminalization. Franklin appears in the 2011 film Cocaine Unwrapped and also happens to be featured in the latest edition of NACLA’s Report on the Americas, Reimagining Drug Policy in the Americas. Mario Murillo, alongside cohost Natalia Orozco, had the opportunity to speak with him earlier this Spring.
Mario A. Murillo is associate professor of communication and chair of the Department of Radio, Television, Film of Hofstra University. He is the author of Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest and Destabilization (Seven Stories Press, 2004). He blogs at mamaradio.blogspot.com.
Read the rest of NACLA's 2014 Summer Issue: "Reimagining Drug Policy in the Americas"