George Forsythe is a former Maryland State Trooper. He served with the Maryland State Police (MSP) for 26 years, most of which he spent in covert narcotics operations. These included the MSP major narcotics unit, DEA task force, fugitive team in Baltimore City, MSP gang task force, and a special investigation task force where he specialized in murder for hire cases. He has worked drug cases from the street level up, written and executed federal and state search and seizure warrants, and participated in countless drug arrests.
George has always been committed to helping people with substance abuse problems. He is in the process of completing a bachelors degree in human services (addictions) at Catholic University, having started classes in order to better understand drug use and become a better law enforcement officer. Around the same time he started classes, he suffered a loss when his father died of complications of late-stage alcoholism. Slowly, he came to the conclusion that drug issues are a public health issue, not a law enforcement issue.
Firsthand experience as a law enforcement officer demonstrated to George that arresting people caused more harm than benefit. He recalls: “Once, while executing a search warrant for a non-drug related crime, a woman in the home was found with drug paraphernalia and a small amount of heroin in her purse, so I arrested her. She was in no way involved in the crime we were there for. She was a family member and it was a classic ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ scenario. It was late at night, but she was already worried about how sick she would be in the morning when withdrawal kicked in. I checked with the detention center to see how they dealt with heroin withdrawal. They said all they could do is give her an aspirin or Pepto-Bismol. She was an intelligent young lady who worked; she was just sick. She wasn’t a criminal.” He recalls another incident in which a 14-year-old daughter was charged with possession for marijuana that clearly belonged to her father.
“After taking a hard look at the drug war,” he says, “I believe if we end the drug prohibition and put the money spent into prevention and education, we could finally seriously reduce the drug crimes and blight we see in Baltimore (where I consider home). We could honestly treat the people and their families and do a better job at making them productive members of society, rather than temporarily warehousing them in jails and then releasing them into the same circumstances.”
Today, George lives in Arnold, MD and is a background investigator and student.