"Dump Judge Judy" Campaign Heats Up, Chronic Pain Patients Join Coalition 3/17/00

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As reported in last week's issue of the Week Online (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/128.html#dumpjudgejudy), a campaign aimed at sponsors of the Judge Judy show has heated up following DRCNet's launch of the web site DumpJudgeJudy.com (http://www.dumpjudgejudy.com). DumpJudgeJudy.com responds to remarks made by the popular TV judge while on book tour in Australia, calling needle exchange an idea promoted by "liberal morons" and suggesting instead to "give 'em (addicts) dirty needles and let 'em die" and "I don't understand why we think it's important to keep them alive."

Following our publishing of last week's article, 200 supporters of needle exchange and sensible drug policy reform have used DumpJudgeJudy.com to write to companies advertising on the Judge Judy show. Though promises to drop the advertising have not yet been received, our supporters have received correspondence back and the matter appears to be under consideration by a number of companies.

DumpJudgeJudy.com allows visitors to send e-mail to certain advertisers on the show, to sign a petition to their state legislators in support of needle exchange, and includes substantive information about needle exchange and who supports it, as well as responses Australians have written to Judge Judy, and Judge Judy's own statements on the subject, with our responses. Recent coverage of the campaign now includes the New York Post, the Newark Star Ledger and the Star Telegraph in Australia.

PLEASE HELP US KEEP THE PRESSURE UP. This is an unprecedented opportunity to bring this important drug policy and public health issue into the fore of the popular debate. Your participation here relates directly to how much publicity and how much grassroots support the site can attract. Please visit http://www.dumpjudgejudy.com and add your voice to the chorus.

We are pleased to report that our campaign has been joined by members of the American Society for Action on Pain (http://www.actiononpain.org). According to ASAP's James Murphy, "Last Month, Judge Judy had a Chronic Pain Patient on her show and unfairly threw out her case because she takes pain medicine. The fact that the girl takes medicine has nothing to do with her lawsuit, but Judge Judy made a bunch of terrible comments to her, called her names and basically told her the case was not even going to be judged on anything except her medication. She accused her of being an 'addict' just because she needs pain medicine. For this reason, the tens of millions of chronic pain patients in this country are being asked to boycott Judge Judy, until a formal apology is given by her to us."

The undertreatment of pain is one of the worst consequences of the drug war, and it is one where such behavior by a public figure can have a direct impact on the quality of life of some pain patients. Following the Sixty Minutes report on the Hurwitz case in 1996 (see http://www.drcnet.org/guide10-96/pain.html), one patient posted to the ASAP list that her family, who had been unsupportive of her using narcotics to control severe chronic pain, finally understood -- because they saw it on TV!

Conversely, when the star of a popular show humiliates a pain patient and foments such uninformed prejudice against the use of legally prescribed narcotics, it has the potential to adversely some pain patients' family relationships. This incident, which occurred not on a book talk on Australia but on US television reaching millions of people, may be even worse for that reason. Over the next week DRCNet will be adding a section for pain patient advocates to DumpJudgeJudy.com.

Unrelated, but of interest to the campaign, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz called the Judge Judy show a "disgrace," writing in the Jewish World Daily last week. The editorial is online at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0300/dersh.judy.html.

Read about the undertreatment of pain and the drug war at http://www.drcnet.org/gateway/pain.html. Read more about AIDS and the drug war at http://www.drcnet.org/gateway/nep.html.

VISIT http://www.dumpjudgejudy.com TODAY!

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Issue #129, 3/17/00 House Panel Okays Colombia Aid, Nixes Drug Treatment Funds, Floor Vote Postponed | "Dump Judge Judy" Campaign Heats Up, Chronic Pain Patients Join Coalition | Alerts: Colombia, Forfeiture, Hawaii Medical Marijuana | Marijuana Heart Risk Unlikely to be Significant, Says Expert | Maryland Medical Marijuana Bill Defeated -- This Time | New Racial Justice Coalition in California, Angered by Governor's Veto, Seeks Passage of Racial Profiling Bill | Newsbriefs | NO MORE PRISONS Hip Hop CD Available at Record Stores | Peter McWilliams Update -- Some Supporting Letters Lost in Computer Crash, Requests Resend | "Just Say Know" Conference Tapes Online | Events: New York, Washington, Toronto | Editorial: Positioning the Nation for Progress -- Not
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