(renamed "Drug War Chronicle" effective issue #300, August 2003)
Issue #49, 7/10/98
"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"
The War Over the War on Drugs
Yesterday was a momentous day in the anti-prohibition effort. As the federal government kicked off its billion dollar anti-drug ad campaign, the very media that are running the ads greeted them with an air of skepticism. Even in the once sacrosanct realm of kids and anti-drug messages, there is now another "side".
Drug policy reformers aren't against prevention. In fact, most of us see such efforts as part of a peaceful alternative to current policies of police and prisons. But we do have things to say on that issue, as well as about prohibition itself, and the media is now ready to include us in the debate. And as one of our supporters has pointed out, people from outside the ranks of the reform movement have begun to make our points for us, perhaps the most convincing evidence so far that the tide of public opinion is slowly but surely shifting in our direction.
Bill Press, before switching to a commercial break on CNN's Crossfire last night, referred to the drug policy debate as "the war over the war on drugs". CNN wouldn't call this a "war" if they thought it was just a discussion among intellectuals that was destined to fade away into insignificance. The drug policy debate -- the war over the war on drugs -- has begun in earnest. Our moment in history has arrived.
You, the members and readers of DRCNet and the organizations with which we have allied, have a special role to play. Wonderful events of the past two years -- medical marijuana passing in California and Arizona, the open letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan, for example -- have had an enormous impact in opening the debate on drug policy, bringing us to this exciting point in time. But bringing the final victory home will also require a true mass movement of citizens, getting the phone calls going into Congress, the letters into the media, setting up the forums, handing out the flyers, circulating the petitions, marching in the streets.
Because of our Internet structure, the ease of connecting with and staying in touch with us, DRCNet is very well suited to the task of building this movement. Our numbers have passed the 6,000 mark. We need your help to build that 6,000 to 60,000 and that 60,000 to 100,000 or more. You can help by sending your friends to our web site, talking about us in online forums, redistributing our bulletins, collecting e-mail addresses at public events, and of course by responding to our action alerts and maximizing their impact. (Though we ask that you tell people first what you are signing them up for and get their permission.)
You can also help by becoming a supporting member of DRCNet. Thanks to enthusiastic reader response, our paid membership rolls broke the 1,000 mark this week! Yet many more are needed in order to strengthen the organization's finances and help us grow and do more. Will you cast your vote for reform and join today? Annual membership dues are $25, or $10 for "virtual", e-mail only membership. Sign up through our secure registration form at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html (hit reload if you get an error message), or just send your check to: DRCNet, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036. Note that contributions to DRCNet are not tax-deductible.
Thank you for your support, and for marching with us in this time of change!
P.S. Check out the July 13 issue of New York magazine, now on the stands, for an outstanding 1 1/3 page review of Mike Gray's Drug Crazy -- or read it online at http://www.newyorkmag.com/Critics/view.asp?id=1551. Pick up Drug Crazy in your local bookstore, and when you do, read about DRCNet on page 203! Or visit the Drug Crazy web site at http://www.drugcrazy.com.
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Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.