Pete Buttigieg on Drugs

Democratic Presidential Challenger; IN Mayor


Incarceration does more harm than dealing with addiction

The point is not the legal niceties. The point is that we have learned through 40 years of a failed war on drugs that criminalizing addiction doesn't work. Incarceration does more harm than the offense it's intended to deal with. This is not saying that these substances are OK. It's saying that a situation where jail is the closest thing they'll ever get to inpatient treatment, shows a profound failure in our country's mental health and addiction treatment system.
Source: Fox News Sunday 2020 Presidential race interview , Feb 9, 2020

Fewer arrests than US, but more black arrests for pot

Buttigieg sidestepped a question about why the number of marijuana possession arrests among black residents in South Bend increased under his leadership. Rather than answer the question directly, Buttigieg instead said that that category of arrests was lower in his city than the national average. He then pivoted to discussing racism more broadly, before being called out by the moderator for deflecting.

When asked if Buttigieg's response was substantial, Warren replied simply, "No."

Source: CNBC.com excerpts of 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate , Feb 8, 2020

Accountability for drug producers; treatment for users

What I'm calling for is that we end the use of incarceration as a response. This does not mean that it will be lawful to produce or distribute those kinds of harmful drugs. We've got to make sure that there is accountability for those who suppressed evidence about the addictiveness of those substances. Even while we're also coming to recognize that these kinds of addiction are a medical issue, not a moral failure on the part of somebody battling that addiction.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Put boundaries on what phamra companies can do

Q: New Hampshire is especially hard hit by this combination of mental health and how it finds its way into addiction. How do you get control back from the companies so that they don't come first? Can the federal government have a role?

BUTTIGIEG: Of course. This is part of why we have government, is to make sure that it stands up for people. When people are disempowered by the behavior of a private actor, whether we're talking about an insurance company, whether we're talking about a provider, or whether we're talking about a pharmaceutical company. And we should not be afraid to put boundaries on what these companies can do in order to make sure that patients come first & families come first. That's part of why we have laws to begin with. The laws are too loose, and their enforcement is too lax. That will change when I'm president.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 6, 2020

Decriminalize and legalize marijuana

Legalizing marijuana is an issue that has seen a steady uptick in support over the years. Fifteen states have decriminalized marijuana while 10 others and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

Many in the Democratic presidential primary field have issued full-throated support for legalizing the drug on the federal level. Earlier this year, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize marijuana on the federal level and expunge the records of those who have been charged with a crime for using or possessing the drug. Several Democratic presidential contenders have signed on as cosponsors of the measure: Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro are among the candidates that have also signaled support for legalization efforts.

Source: Denver CBS Local on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , May 16, 2019

Marijuana is personal responsibility issue; move to legalize

Buttigieg says the U.S. should be working towards legalizing recreational marijuana, because of all the problems associated with current marijuana policy. This should be more of a personal responsibility issue, he argues. "You look at rates of incarceration, you look at the racial disparity that is attached to whether somebody is likely to experience incarceration as a consequence of a non-violent drug offense and all of it points us in the same direction," Buttigieg said.
Source: Indianapolis Star on 2020 presidential hopefuls , May 6, 2019

Focus on opioid treatment options, not just defining problem

Sometimes, knowing more doesn't help. At a tech conference, I saw a pitch from a startup that would automatically detect patterns of opioid use by scanning for trace amounts in the sewage. The technology is brilliant, and may do a great deal of good in some places. But in South Bend, our problem wasn't knowing how much opioid use was prevalent in this neighborhood compared to that one; it was the lack of mental health and addiction resources to deal with the issue wherever we found it. Financing a project to tell us more about the problem could even come at the expense of treatment options, which are grossly underfunded in our country and state health systems. In cases where we have ample means to fix a problem, then we only need to find it. The rest of the time, reporting an issue is necessary, but not sufficient, for resolving it.
Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.189 , Feb 12, 2019

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Page last updated: Sep 01, 2021