Roughly 300 people, mostly consisting of church groups and social service agencies, gathered at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago Friday, to declare the war on drugs should be over because it has failed.
The event was connected to rallies all over the country, as Friday was the 40th anniversary of the day President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs.
In a recent study, Roosevelt University's Consortium on Drug Policy found that Illinois is the worst when it comes to having a disproportionate number of minorities incarcerated for drug offenses. They say an African-American or Latino man is eight times more likely to go to jail than a white man charged with the same offense.
Protestors argued providing drug treatment is a much better solution than warehousing drug users.
Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle was a featured speaker at Friday’s rally, since she oversees the county jail system.
Toni Preckwinkle, speaking during a Chicago rally Friday, says the effort has resulted in the incarceration of millions of non-violent offenders, most of whom African-American and Latino.
She says the cost of the war on drugs is too great to continue.
According to Preckwinkle, it costs nearly $150 a day to detain people in Cook County Jail. She said the money would be better served being invested in treatment, education and job-skills training.
Father Michael Pfleger was also expected to speak at the event about how drugs affect communities.
Organizers said they need to disrupt what they call the cradle to prison pipeline.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)