On July 3, 1997, DRCNet launched The Week Online, the nation's only weekly news magazine dedicated to original coverage of the drug war and drug policy reform. The movement has come a long way in the short time since that first issue; nine more reform-oriented voter initiatives have been approved in the United States, harm reduction -- and drug policy reform generally -- continue to gain mainstream acceptance around the globe, two US governors, along with numerous prominent citizens and the editorial boards of a growing number of the nation's largest newspapers have called for a reexamination of the drug war; African-American leaders have come to the fore to openly oppose mandatory minimum sentencing, racial profiling, the number of young Black males in prison and official foot-dragging on syringe exchange -- drug war issues all; and factions of the US government have displayed their concern over the growing movement to end the drug war by redoubling efforts to demonize, harass and slander the advocates of reform.
Over the past two years, DRCNet has grown as well. Back in July of '97, DRCNet's staff consisted of Dave and Adam, working out of a room in the offices of the Drug Policy Foundation (to whom we are indebted for their continued support). Today we have a full-time staff of four, (Karynn and Kris have both been here for over a year) with two part-time -- but vitally important -- staff-members (Nissim and Jane) and a growing internship program that has brought us Taylor, Peter and Will. We have been in our own office here in Dupont Circle for more than a year and a half, and we even have a laser printer!
The most important indicator of our growth, however, is you. Issue #1 of The Week Online arrived by email to just over 2,000 subscribers. Issue #100 has been sent out to a subscription list of more than 11,000. And many of you (you know who you are) regularly re-post, re-print and forward all or part of each issue to countless others. We thank you.
But the real reason for this work is far more important. It is the hundreds of thousands of Americans who sit today behind bars for non-violent drug offenses. It is America's children, who have easy access to dangerous substances in the unregulated black market. It is the Constitution of the United States, which has been chiseled away by years of "drug war exceptions," and it is the future of this nation and a world awash in a violent and insidiously corrupting industry which buys off governments, finances despots and terrorists, and makes a mockery of the rule of law and the ideals of freedom, liberty and personal responsibility.
We thank you all for being part of the solution, and we hope that in the time it takes to produce the next hundred issues of The Week Online, you too will redouble your commitment to ending America's longest war. It is a war not on drugs but on people, and families, and principles. It is within our power to end this war, and as the leading edge of the growing resistance, it is our responsibility to do so. The future is truly in our hands. Let us shape it wisely, together.
- The staff of DRCNet.