Heroin users

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NYPD Officers To Sweep Drug Users Out Of City Parks

January 13, 2019 - 1:29 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – NYPD officers will begin making sweeps through parks in the South Bronx on Monday in an attempt to clear out drug users.

Open-air drug use is common in certain parts of the South Bronx, and City Councilman Rafael Salamanca called the area Ground Zero for drugs in an interview with Politico.

To address the problem, the NYPD will begin increasing its presence in St. Mary’s Park and other city parks in the neighborhood for “enhanced enforcement.”

Officers will have the option to arrest drug users, which worries advocates who are pushing for a less punitive approach to ending illegal drug use.

They feel the approach is an outdated and damaging “war on drugs” solution to the problem.

And advocates are surprised the move comes on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City address, in which he said: “For years there was a conventional wisdom in this down, and it said you could only arrest your way to a safer city. Guess what? Conventional wisdom was wrong.”

The mayor has defended the idea of using police officers to push drug users out of parks, saying there is no okay place to use drugs and that his administration’s goal is to get treatment for anyone who needs it.