Drug Crime

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Colorado’s prison population is growing. Between 1980 and 2016, it increased by 661 percent. It’s projected to increase by another 38 percent by 2024 according to projections from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.

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A doctor handed Melissa Morris her first opioid prescription when she was 20 years-old. She had a cesarean section to deliver her daughter, and to relieve post-surgical pain her doctor sent her home with Percocet. On an empty stomach, she took one pill and laid down on her bed.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh my god. Is this legal? How can this feel so good?’” Morris recalls.

She was hooked. From there she started taking the pills recreationally, shopping around for doctors who would write new prescriptions, frequenting urgent care clinics where doctors didn’t ask a lot of questions and were loose with their prescription pad.

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The U.S. Department of Justice says it won’t stop marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Thursday’s announcement means Colorado’s pot shops could open as early as January.

(We put a new top on this post at 1:40 p.m. ET.)

Arguing that it is "well past time to address persistent needs and unwarranted disparities," Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday laid out more of the Obama administration's thinking on changes it wants to make to the way nonviolent offenders are prosecuted and how they are punished.

"Our system is in too many ways broken," Holder told the American Bar Association at its annual meeting in San Francisco. "The course we are on is far from sustainable."

Sit down with the attorney general to ask him about his priorities, as NPR did earlier this year, and he'll talk about voting rights and national security. But if you listen a bit longer, Eric Holder gets to this: "I think there are too many people in jail for too long, and for not necessarily good reasons."

This is the nation's top law enforcement officer calling for a sea change in the criminal justice system. And he's not alone.

As they walk through the front door, visitors to the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office in Sierra Blanca, Texas, get punched by the overpowering odor of marijuana.

This is our first, and possibly last, mention of a story that's been getting lots of play on cable news:

"Mexican Court Frees Arizona Mom Accused Of Drug Smuggling." (CNN.com)

"I'm free now ... and I'm very grateful," Yanira Maldonado told reporters early Friday.

A suspected drug kingpin from the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau was captured on the high seas by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency earlier this month, brought to Manhattan and is now awaiting trial.

The dramatic sting operation sheds light on what officials say is a growing national security threat: criminal networks teaming up with extremist organizations.

The Center for Investigative Reporting has a report today that shatters some preconceived notions: A review of records from the Border Patrol, shows that three out of four people the patrol found carrying drugs were United States citizens.

CIR reports this finding goes against the many press releases issued by the agency highlighting Mexican drug smugglers.

The organization reports:

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