The month of September will see a number of advocacy events taking place in Washington, DC on a range of drug policy issues, including mandatory minimum sentencing, needle exchange, and methadone maintenance. All these issues are important to us, and DRCNet members are urged to attend and participate. Please remember that while we have much in common with the organizations staging these events, they have the need to keep the focus of their events tightly on the issues that they are addressing, not the larger issue of prohibition vs. legalization or regulation, and it's important that we respect that.
Wednesday, September 10: Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) will be holding a demonstration from noon to 1 p.m. on the eastern steps of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, September 10 to protest the harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws which have led to unjust prison sentences for Kemba Smith, of Dayton Ohio and other non- violent, low-level, first-time drug offenders. Demonstrators will include high school students from Dayton, Ohio, and members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dayton, Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland. Speakers will include Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) Dick Gregory, Rev. Joseph Lowery and more! For more information, contact Monica Pratt at (202) 822-6700, or visit the FAMM web site http://www.famm.org and click on "FAMM hotline".
The National Coalition To Save Lives Now will be holding a demonstration at noon, Sept. 17th, at the Dept. of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave., protesting the ban on federal funding of needle exchange programs. Lifting the ban will give states the option of using existing federal AIDS funds for needle exchange, if they choose. For info, call the National Coalition to Save Lives Now! at (212) 213-6376, ext. 17, e-mail [email protected], or visit http://www.safeworks.org/savelivesnow on the web.
The third event is not exactly a protest. On Sept. 29-30, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is holding "Heroin Use and Addiction: A National Conference on Prevention, Treatment and Research". Methadone patients and other advocates are planning to attend, and some are presenting, and a methadone advocates meeting is likely to take place. For information on the methadone advocates meeting, contact the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates at (212) 595-NAMA or e-mail [email protected]. For information on the conference, call (301) 468-6004 ext. 431 or visit http://www.nida.nih.gov/Brochure/Brochure.html on the web.