Philadelphia may stop prosecuting drug users as criminals

Today in Security: Philadelphia may stop charging drug users as criminals

Philadelphia's district attorney said he may soon change the city's policy to shift drug possession laws. If approved, this would be the first policy ​in the United States to switch from penalizing drug possession charges with jail time to treating the user instead. 

Axios reported on 8 May that District Attorney Larry Krasner​ is close to implementing the policy, which would divert all drug possession cases. "We are talking about people who are using drugs. The vast majority of them suffering from addiction," Krasner told Axios on HBO in an episode that will air in May.

Intent to sell drugs would remain classified as a felony, and would continue to be prosecuted as such, according to NBC Philadelphia.

Additional details, such as how the city would implement the policy, have not been disclosed yet.

The policy could signal additional changes for the country, as the nation tries to curb the growing drug and opioid crises. Since 2018, the Trump administration tasked Homeland Security and State departments with focusing on stopping the import of drugs like illegal fentanyl and heroin.

Depending on how the policy develops, both in Philadelphia and nationwide, it could also lead to changes in how employers deal with employees who test positive for drugs. ​Security Management published a guide in 2015 about the developing environment employers deal with when encountering marijuana in the workplace. Laws outlining employee and employer protections and discrimination standards with regards to drug use have widely changed as states increasingly legalize medical (and sometimes recreational) marijuana.