The LEAD Philosophy

Individuals should not be criminalized for their drug use. Often there are underlying mental health and substance use disorders that drive low, level nonviolent drug related crimes that cannot be adequately addressed by the criminal justice system. LEAD® offers as a tool for communities to respond to public order issues through a public health framework that reduces reliance on the formal criminal justice system.

LEAD aims to reduce the stigma related to drug use by removing the moral and legal judgments of persons addicted or dependent on drugs by applying: community policing, harm reduction, and training about the continuum of drug use, the cycle of recovery, and scope of drug treatment therapies.

The Guiding Principles of LEAD

Booking, prosecuting and jailing individuals who commit low-level drug offenses has had limited effect on improving public safety, public health and public order. ​
Interventions that connect low-level drug offenders with services may cost less and be more successful at reducing future criminal behavior and improving health.
Problematic drug use and addiction is a public health issue not a criminal issue.
LEAD is not an abstinence based program. It is based in harm reduction. Harm Reduction is a respectful non-judgmental approach to reducing the harms of drug and alcohol use. Harm reduction benefits people who use drugs, their families and the community.  For more information on harm reduction go to the Harm Reduction Coalition
LEAD reduces the role of criminalization in drug control. For more information see Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD): Reducing the Role of Criminalization in Local Drug Control by the Drug Policy Alliance. English Spanish

Drug Policy Reform Focus Areas in NM

(Not endorsed by LEAD Santa Fe)

Legalizing cannabis for adult use.
Devising new strategies to prevent drug overdose fatalities.
Expanding access to drug treatment for people behind bars.
Establishing overdose prevention programs/supervised consumption services.
Decriminalizing drug use and possession.
Supporting implementation of an injectable opioid treatment program.
Advancing reforms at the intersection of the drug war and policing.