About this Blog

Forty years after Richard Nixon declared War on Drugs, Americans are looking for real change. The action by voters in Washington State and Colorado together with a variety of other initiatives across the country demonstrate that the public is ready for a real dialogue on drug abuse issues. This blog will focus on that discussion.

I bring a unique perspective to the conversation. Following graduate school, I began my career in addictions working in one of the first methadone programs serving heroin addicts. Over the next twenty years, I worked in a variety of roles in the addictions field, counseling addicts and their families, seeking funds for addictions services and helping to implement new programs. As the Executive Director of the Cincinnati Alcoholism Council, I led the effort for new services for children of alcoholics, prevention programming in schools and intervention services for families.
At age forty-two, I changed careers, entering the Police Academy and becoming a Cincinnati Police Officer. I rose through the ranks, serving as a SWAT member and Commander of the SWAT Negotiators Unit, Community Oriented Policing Supervisor and Commander of the Police Academy. Along the way, I wrote two books on policing issues – Community Oriented Policing for Beat Cops and Understanding Police Use of Force, both published by Criminal Justice Press.

I finished my career as Commander of the Central Vice Control Section, a unit that had city-wide responsibility for drug enforcement. Utilizing a strong relationship with Federal Drug Enforcement, a group of talented and energetic officers and an emphasis on mid-level dealers, our unit began making increasing seizures of drugs, guns and money from area dealers. Despite our successes, it became apparent to me that all our efforts amounted to little more than bumps in the road for the illegal drug market.

I may well be the only person in the country who worked on both sides of the drug supply-demand equation. With the perspective of my 40 years in the drug war, I am firmly convinced there is a better way to effectively attack the illegal drug market and suppress the drug-related violence and criminal disorder that afflicts every community in our country.

This blog will focus on that strategy. I invite you to join me in this conversation. Your comments and your ideas are welcome.


Howard Rahtz is the author of Drugs, Crime and Violence: From Trafficking to Treatment. He is active in speaking on police and drug issues, is a member of the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and his blog can be viewed a HowardRahtz.com.