"Our drug laws don’t stop people from using drugs, but they often prevent people from getting help."
Rock Cowles was a police officer in South Carolina for five years. Rock also served in the Navy and the Army National Guard, and he worked in two different drug treatment centers in the Chicago area.
Rock, whose father was a police officer, joined law enforcement in the 1990s with a focus on integrity. “I wanted to prove to myself that you could be an honest cop, help people, and do the job the right way,” he says. Convinced that many of the drug laws in America cause far more damage to individuals and society than the drugs themselves, he took the then-unpopular position of calling for legalization. “Our drug laws don’t stop people from using drugs,” he says, “but they often prevent people from getting help for addiction, using clean needles, and knowing what’s in the drug they’re using.” He was fair as a police officer and used his discretion as much as possible to keep from ruining people’s lives in the criminal justice system.
Today, Rock is pleased to see that the public is starting to agree with what he has been saying all along. “I do not advocate any drug use,” he says. “But regardless of whether drugs are good or bad, prohibition laws make them worse.”