Prof. Michele Martinez Campbell spent eight years as a soldier in the “war on drugs.” As a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office, her jurisdiction covered the ports and the airports serving New York City, and her case load was comprised exclusively of high-level international and domestic narcotics cases. As a line prosecutor and later deputy chief in the Narcotics Unit, she prosecuted major kingpins and international traffickers, and she felt that the work she was doing made the world a safer place.

Now as a law professor specializing in criminal law, her job is to step back and look at U.S. narcotics law and policy in an objective and scholarly way.  She teaches a seminar on narcotics law, and her students overwhelmingly question the value and efficacy of current approaches to the drug problem. This blog is her effort to grapple with and find answers to the questions they raise.

Has the “war on drugs” failed? What does it even mean to ask that question? How is failure measured and what would success look like? If the war on drugs is a failure, what are consequences for narcotics law and policy? What should we do instead? Legalize, educate, treat? What evidence is there that these strategies would be more effective than the prohibition approach we’ve been following? What would legalization even look like and what potential collateral consequences would it have?

Tune into NarcoLaw as Prof. Martinez Campbell and leading scholars and practitioners in law, medicine, sociology and other fields address these questions.  Each week, we will bring you a variety of new posts under the following headings: NarcoLaw Perpsectives (opinion and commentary on narcotics law and policy from Prof. Martinez Campbell),; Guest Blogs (in which respected scholars in the field share their ideas); Newsmaker Interviews (in which Prof. Martinez Campbell interviews people who are doing groundbreaking or thought-provoking work in narcotics law and policy), Scholarship Watch (in which we review recent law review articles on narcotics law) and Judicial Watch (in which student blogger Drew Bacharach tells you about recent judicial opinions relevant to narcotics law).  Please join the debate by telling us what you think in the Comments sections below each post.