New Hampshire’s drug crisis is a common topic on the campaign trail this year. But U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens is touting a slightly different approach.
Rubens advocates for so-called "harm reduction" policies, things like drug assisted treatment, needle exchange programs, and the decriminalization of marijuana.
Campaigning in Manchester Monday, Rubens, a Republican, told reporters that Congress needs to end what he called the “war on drugs.”
“The failure of the prohibition, incarceration approach has been transparently visible," Rubens said. "It’s a stunning, remarkably grotesque deadly failure of policy and we have been aware of this for well over a decade."
During the press conference, Rubens showed a video of him recently talking to a group of female inmates at the Cheshire County Jail, who told him that being locked up only made their drug addiction worse.
Last year more than 420 people died from a drug overdose in New Hampshire, more than double the number from five years earlier.
Rubens also said if states were to legalize and tax marijuana, the money could be spent on drug treatment and prevention. Last week the New Hampshire Senate rejected a proposal to decriminalize half an ounce of marijuana.
After serving two terms in the state Senate, Rubens was board president of a drug counseling center in Lebanon. Rubens is now running for incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte’s seat.