(renamed "Drug War Chronicle" effective issue #300, August 2003)
Issue #150, 8/22/00
"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(For comprehensive coverage of the jam-packed schedule, visit http://www.shadowconventions.com on the web.)
Overflow crowds filled a sweaty, sweltering Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles for the Shadow Convention's drug policy day, easily the most well-attended of the convention's four-day run. As attendees fanned themselves inside or sought a shady breeze outside on Figueroa Street, a parade of reformers, patients, entertainers, and politicians denounced the war on drugs as failed, futile, and inhumane.
Neither the blistering Southern California sun nor the massive police presence for the nearby Democratic Convention could dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand, people who saw all or part of the program, which ran well into the night.
And more so than in Philadelphia, the Shadow Convention's drug policy day drew a steady stream of politicians from the party holding its convention down the street. Making repeat appearances were two Republican politicians, Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA), who is challenging incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein for a senate seat. Rev. Jesse Jackson also made a second Shadow Convention appearance.
But the Democrats appeared less spooked by the possibility of being identified with drug war critics than their Republican rivals in Philadelphia, as elected officials including Rep. Maxine Waters, who represents nearby South Central LA, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, who is in line to head the House Judiciary Committee if the Democrats seize control of the House, New York Rep. Charles Rangel, and, surprisingly to many, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who gained recent notoriety for canceling that city's DARE program, all addressed the event. And more people wearing tags identifying them as delegates to the major party convention were in evidence than in Philadelphia.
The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation's Ethan Nadelmann opened the day with an acknowledgment of the way drug policy reform has bisected traditional partisan distinctions, telling an enthusiastic audience that the gathering "marks a new movement of strange bedfellows." An upbeat Nadelmann told the crowd that the elected officials who are beginning to raise their heads are only the tip of the iceberg in a growing and building movement to end the drug war.
Several speakers, including Lindesmith's Deborah Small, hammered home the theme of racial disparity in the drug war. Small spoke bluntly, calling the drug war "racist in its intent, implementation, and impact," and offered up the numbers to back her claim. As during other points during the day when speakers denounced the drug war as a war on the poor and minorities, an energized and angered audience raucously greeted Small's remarks.
Rep. Maxine Waters returned to that theme later in the day, drawing repeatedly on the Contra-CIA-crack scandal exposed in 1996 by San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb. While some have jumped to conspiratorial conclusions about the CIA's intentions, Waters took care to build the case that, at the least, the agency turned a blind eye to cocaine trafficking by its right-wing Contra allies, while the people of her district have paid the price.
Water's also strongly denounced the US military assistance plan for Colombia, calling it a gift to "right-wing dictator types," and told drug warriors "get out of the way and let us develop good drug policies that will let us stop incarcerating the victims of this so-called drug war."
She drew loud applause when she told the audience she had introduced a bill to correct the federal mandatory minimum sentencing scheme, but the biggest crowd response came when Waters called for the immediate resignation of drug czar Barry McCaffrey, much to the delight of the whooping and hollering audience.
Waters also saluted Bill Zimmerman, head of Campaign for New Drug Policies, which is running the campaign to pass California Proposition 36, which CNDP drafted and which would divert non-violent drug possession offenders from prison into treatment. Saying the proposition would "turn the state around," Waters told the audience that the Congressional Black Caucus had endorsed the initiative.
Zimmerman himself made a strong pitch for drug reformers to support Proposition 36. Addressing the dismay and concern felt in parts of the reform movement over an initiative that some describe as exchanging the prison-industrial complex for a therapeutic-industrial complex, Zimmerman urged the crowd to set aside any reservations and "vote for what is possible," not what is ideal.
He acknowledged that "many wish Prop. 36 would go further," but he argued that reformers can't expect the public to vote for something it is not ready to support. "There is little point in putting on the ballot an initiative that would fail," he said, and characterized Prop. 36 as "the beginning, not the end."
But Zimmerman's strongest argument came when he urged the crowd to "think about what this will accomplish, think about the 37,000" people who would avoid prison each year under the initiative's plan.
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson was the surprise of the Shadow Convention. Much in the vein of New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Anderson emphasized a rational, business-like, bottom-line approach to drug policy. Again like Johnson, Anderson displayed little concern about the political cost of such a stand. When asked after his speech about official and popular support for his stance, Anderson told DRCNet that he had not much of either. "The Utah Democratic party is a bunch of cowards," he said, "they run as fast as they can away from this issue, like any other controversial issue."
As for popular support, he told DRCNet that it was minimal. "We've had lots of calls from parents and even kids who say they like DARE and they love the t-shirts and bumper stickers," Anderson said, but he added that their enthusiasm did not outweigh the serious research showing that DARE was a failed program.
Instead of being terrified of being called "soft on drugs," said Anderson, politicians should be terrified of supporting policies that are "ineffective, wasteful, and inhumane."
And, he told DRCNet, "the truth resonates, but people have to hear it from credible sources. People have to speak out clearly and unequivocally," Anderson added. "Eventually the political parties and candidates will come around."
While congressional veterans such as Waters, Conyers, and Rangel and party heavyweights such as Jesse Jackson have come around to criticizing the drug war based on the disproportionate impact it has had on their constituencies, Anderson, along with New Mexico's Johnson and California's Campbell appear to represent a new breed and a new generation. All three are in their forties, and all come to the issue with a well thought-out universal critique of the drug war paradigm. And all three demonstrated the political courage to "lead, not follow" the popular will, as Anderson put it.
But the Shadow Convention was not all serious wonkery. Evening events included a "Shadow Cabaret" and a "rapid response" panel consisting of comics Al Franken and Tommy Smothers, professional iconoclasts Alexander Cockburn and Paul Krassner, and cultural commentator Farai Chideya, dissecting the not always realistic speeches being broadcast from the Staples Center (location of the Democratic Convention).
And, in a mid-day appearance, Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher ripped into Al Gore and George W. Bush for drug war hypocrisy. Saying he could understand how politicians of the older generation, such as Bush senior, were on the wrong side," Maher lit into the two baby boomer candidates. "Bush and Gore understand what drugs are all about -- big-time," he said. "One of them had an inappropriate relationship with Bolivia."
"Pot didn't make Gore any dumber and coke didn't make Bush any smarter," he snickered. "Nobody ever died from pot," Maher added, "although it's caused quite a few births."
Turning serious, Maher concluded that if there is to be zero tolerance, it should be "zero tolerance for injustice."
Although media coverage has not been as extensive as in Philadelphia, in part because the novelty has worn off, the Shadow Convention has played to generally favorable reviews in the national press. And politicians such as Anderson, Johnson and Campbell all drew extensive coverage from their local media outlets, bringing their drug reform themes home to local voters.
With the two Shadow Conventions, drug policy and criminal justice reformers appear more energized, united, and likely to score electoral successes than ever before. If the Shadow Conventions have helped bring the movement together, they are also a reflection of the growing strength of a movement which has long bubbled beneath the surface and now threatens to explode into mainstream politics.
Congratulations to the Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation for successfully organizing this event.
On February 18, 1999, heavily armed officers from a raft of California law enforcement agencies with media in tow, simultaneously raided the practice of Dr. Frank Fisher and the Shasta Pharmacy, ransacking the facilities, seizing records and assets, and arresting Dr. Fisher and pharmacy owners Steven and Madeline Miller. All three were arrested and charged with multiple murder counts -- the idea being that inappropriately prescribed narcotics led to overdose deaths -- and a host of health fraud crimes. The California Attorney General's office issued a sensational press release announcing the apprehension of a murderous major drug ring trading in prescription drugs.
One by one, however, the basis for murder charges dropped away. One of the "victims" was a woman killed in a car crash; she had been a passenger in the car. Another was a former Fisher patient who had been kicked out of the practice because the doctor suspected abuse. The third was a woman whose husband and son swear that Dr. Fisher gave her years and a quality of life that she wouldn't have otherwise had, and helped raise money for his legal defense fund.
Dr. Fisher and the Millers remained in jail unable to raise bail -- an outlandish $15,000,000 in Fisher's case -- for five months, until a judge at a preliminary hearing threw out the murder charges as totally lacking support. At last report, prosecutors have been reduced to offering plea bargains to a misdemeanor offense, which Fisher and the Millers confidently refused.
A year and a half later, questions of police and prosecutorial misconduct linger, and hundreds of patients remain un- or under-treated for severe, chronic pain.
The Fisher/Miller case grew out of Fisher's efforts to treat patients suffering from chronic pain with opiates, and the Millers' willingness to work with and advocate for MediCal patients trying to get their treatments covered by Medical in accordance with California law.
The law seems clear. The 1997 Patients' Bill of Rights, enacted by the California legislature, says:
"... A physician who uses opiate therapy to relieve severe chronic intractable pain may prescribe a dosage deemed medically necessary to relieve severe chronic intractable pain as long as the prescribing is in conformance with the  California Intractable Pain Treatment Act, Section 2241.5 of the Business and Professions Code."
But state law enforcement officials didn't see it that way. In what can most charitably called willful ignorance of the state law, and could well be described as malicious prosecution and abuse of authority, these officials deemed Dr. Fisher a "Dr. Feelgood" and the Millers willing accomplices.
The Fisher/Miller case brings to the forefront critical issues surrounding the problem of pain relief for the estimated 30-60 million chronic sufferers. As a direct result of the war on drugs, dating all the way back to the 1914 Harrison Act, the ability of doctors to prescribe sufficient quantities of opiates to bring relief from pain has been severely undermined by law enforcement's ability to define chronic pain relief as a drug abuse and law enforcement issue.
The Week Online discussed
this case with Dr. Fisher, the Millers, and D.J. Black, the husband of
one of Fisher's patients, during the Shadow Convention:
Your help in the form of letter writing or financial contributions will help Dr. Fisher, the Millers, and chronic pain patients everywhere. To get involved or make a donation, contact: Dr. Frank B. Fisher Legal Defense Fund, 1705 Julian Court, El Cerrito, CA 94530, (510) 233-3490, [email protected] or visit http://www.drfisher.org on the web.
Patients and others interested in pain control for all who need it should check out the American Society for Action on Pain at http://www.actiononpain.org online.
For more than a decade, Chris
Conrad has been active in the California cannabis reform movement.
He is the author of "Hemp: Lifeline to the Future," and coauthor of "Shattered
Lives: Portraits from America's Drug War," and also edited the
Conrad has testified as an expert witness in numerous California medical marijuana cases. In addition to his archival research, Conrad has extensive hands-on experience with all aspects of cannabis cultivation. He was curator of the Amsterdam Hemp Cannabis Hash Museum and studied at the central seed bank for Sensi Seeds, one of the world's largest legal marijuana seed suppliers. He has overseen a six-acre outdoor grow in Switzerland and observed hemp production in Germany and Switzerland.
The Week Online spoke with
Conrad at the Los Angeles Shadow Convention:
As DRCNet reported late last month, the US Supreme Court's ruling in Apprendi v. New Jersey implicitly jeopardized federal graduated sentencing guidelines based on the amount of drugs in question (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/147.html#fedstremble). In that ruling, the justices decided that any element of a crime that enhances the possible sentence beyond a statutory maximum must be proven by a jury, not left to a judge as part of sentencing.
Now, in what could portend a major overhaul of the federal guidelines, we are seeing the first signs that the Apprendi ruling is beginning to bite.
Less than two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled on Apprendi, it sent the case of a Denver man sentenced to 30 years for cocaine distribution back to the 10th Circuit US Court of Appeals for reconsideration. Carless Jones was indicted and convicted by a jury of two counts of distributing cocaine, a crime carrying a statutory penalty of 20 years. But the sentencing judge added on an additional 10 years on each count based on the amount of the drug alleged in a presentence report.
This action violated the Supreme Court's argument in Apprendi that the jury, not the judge, must find beyond a reasonable doubt that the amount of cocaine which triggers stiffer sentences was in fact proven.
And earlier this month, two Philadelphia marijuana dealers have seen their prospective sentences cut in half in the first post-Apprendi criminal case in that area.
Lenwood Malachi was sentenced to five years in prison, and codefendant David J. Fitzgerald, a dry-cleaner, was jailed for 10 years for conspiring to traffic in marijuana.
US District Judge Harvey Bartle III said in court that their sentences would have been twice as long if they had been sentenced prior to June, when Apprendi was decided. Both men were convicted of distributing thousands of pounds of marijuana, but because the quantities had not been proven at trial, Bartle said he had no choice but to sentence them for the minimal offense of trafficking less 50 kilograms of marijuana, or 110 pounds.
With some 61,000 federal prisoners sentenced under the old guidelines, these cases may well mark the beginning of an avalanche of appeals. The existing federal sentencing guidelines will, in all probability, have to be rewritten as well.
Eighteen months after the New South Wales Drug Summit recommended a package of reforms to drug laws, including trial of a medically supervised heroin injecting room, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the Uniting Church has received a license to operate Australia's first legal heroin injection room in Sydney's Kings Cross section.
Sydney Police Commissioner Peter Ryan, and the director-general of health, Mick Reid, issued the license for a former pinball parlor this week.
The Uniting Church's Rev. Harry Herbert told the Morning Herald: "We are very pleased to get the license, at last. This means we can start the eight to ten week building renovation works and start recruiting staff and so open the doors before the end of the year if all goes well."
The injection room will operate with two previously undisclosed restrictions. One bans pregnant women from using the facility, and the other bars providing needles to anyone other than those planning to use the center.
Dr. Alex Wodak, head of St Vincent's Hospital drug and alcohol services, is unhappy with the latter provision.
"The ban on needle exchange is unfortunate because there may be people who come into the place and decide they are not going to use the facility as an injecting room but are going to use some other aspects of it such as counseling and that should be encouraged," he told the Morning Herald.
Wodak also noted that the last-minute restrictions highlighted the political pressures brought by opponents and that they "distort the trial and risks diminishing the benefits of the facility."
(courtesy NORML Foundation, http://www.norml.org)
Oakland, CA: The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals on Monday denied the federal government's request for an emergency order to stop the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative from distributing marijuana to patients who qualify as having a "medical necessity." The federal government filed the emergency order staying a July 17th ruling by District Court Judge Charles Breyer.
The federal government countered Monday's 9th Circuit ruling by filing an application to stay the decision with the US Supreme Court.
The government previously filed a petition of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review a September 19, 1999 decision of the 9th Circuit which allowed for the distribution of marijuana to patients who met the medical necessity defense.
"It is a travesty that the Clinton-Gore administration is trying to invoke the majesty and power of that august body, the highest court in the land, in an attempt to try to separate critically ill patients from a medicine they need," said Robert Raich, Esq., attorney for the OCBC.
Raich said the OCBC is "complying fully and faithfully" with the amended injunction.
Common Sense for Drug Policy's "Drug War Facts" has been updated to August 2000, with new chapters on Ecstasy and Drug Courts. Visit http://www.csdp.org/factbook/ to examine this comprehensive collection of key facts and statistics on a wide range of drug policy issues. Drug War Facts is the ideal way to prepare for a debate, flesh out a letter to the editor or just improve your basic knowledge of drug policy.
TomPaine.com has a growing set of drug war articles, including several on the Los Angeles and Philadelphia Shadow Convention. Visit http://www.tompaine.com and search on "Shadow Convention" or "drug war" to find them. Be sure to check out TomPaine.com's most recent "op-ad" in the New York Times, skewering the drug war, currently available on their web site as well.
Alternet coverage of the
Spanish language resources from the Cato Institute: http://www.elcato.org/drogas.htm
Friendly Fire: Rethinking the War on Drugs From a Quaker Perspective," from the Spring 2000 edition of the Haverford Alumni Magazine, by Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. Visit http://www.cjpf.org/pubs/FriendlyFire.pdf to check it out.
New York Times Magazine article
on New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and drug policy reform:
Jack Herer, author of the underground bestseller "The Emperor Has No Clothes" and long-time crusader for marijuana and hemp, will be honored at September 22nd at Universal Studios in Los Angeles with multiple screenings of his biography, "Emperor of Hemp."
Proceeds from the $50-a-ticket event will help defray medical expenses for Herer, who suffered a stroke and heart attack July 15th while speaking at the World Hemp Fest in Eugene, Oregon. An Army veteran, Herer, 61, spent several days at the Portland Veterans Administration Hospital before being transferred to a rehab clinic. He is beginning to recover his speech and use of his right side, and is expected to attend the screening.
A longtime Valley resident, Herer became a counterculture icon for writing the 1985 underground bestseller "The Emperor Wears No Clothes." Last year, High Times magazine named him its Man of the Century.
"Emperor of Hemp," produced by Double J Films of Ventura and funded by Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, will be shown in Screening Room #1 on the Universal lot. Show times are 7:00pm, 8:30pm and 10:00pm. The capacity of the theater is only 100, so reservations are required. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Tickets can be charged by calling toll-free (888) 870-1002. Checks or money orders can be sent to Emperor, P.O. Box 2178, Ventura, CA 93002.
Last week's "Ecstasy Panic" article cited the testimony of Prof. Philip Jenkins. The link to his testimony was incorrect; the correct URL is http://www.house.gov/judiciary/jenk0615.htm.
In last week's critique of a New York Times article, we accidentally referred to the reporter both as Fox Butterfield and Fox Butterworth. The correct version is Butterfield.
COLOMBIA: In the wake of the late reported El Salado massacre (see story above), Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) is circulating a letter to be sent to President Clinton asking that Colombia be decertified for US military assistance -- i.e. the recently passed "Plan Colombia" -- based on continued human rights abuses. Please call your Senators -- use the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be transferred to their offices -- or visit http://www.drcnet.org/stopthehelicopters/ to tell your Senators that Plan Colombia was a terrible mistake and it's time to call it off before it's too late.
MANDATORY MINIMUMS: See http://www.drcnet.org/wol/145.html (articles 1 and 2) for information on the Jubilee Justice 2000 campaign to free drug war prisoners and how you can help. Visit http://www.drcnet.org/justice/ to tell Congress you think the mandatory minimums should go!
CALIFORNIA: Oppose "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" bill -- visit http://www.drcnet.org/states/california/ to write your state legislators.
NEW YORK: Repeal
the Rockefeller Drug Laws! Visit http://www.drcnet.org/states/newyork/
to send a message to your legislators in Albany.
We reprint our action call on the Higher Education Act campaign below. It's not too late to get involved, and we need your help! See http://www.drcnet.org/wol/138.html#partialvictory for the latest major campaign update and point your browser to http://www.drcnet.org/wol/141.html#usatoday for the campaign's latest major press coverage.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
(Please submit listings of events related to drug policy and related areas to [email protected].)
August 26, Washington, DC, noon. "Redeem the Dream" march against racial profiling and police brutality, marking the 37th anniversary of the March on Washington, at the Lincoln Memorial. Convened by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Action Network, call (202) 58DREAM for information.
August 27, Santa Barbara, CA, noon-8:00pm. Santa Barbara Hemp Festival, De La Guerre Plaza, next to City Hall. Sponsored by the Santa Barbara Hemp Company, featuring hemp vendors, medical marijuana info, environmental organizations, healthy food and live music by the Cannons and others. Admission free.
September 8, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Boundary Issues for Service Providers, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
September 9-13, St. Louis, MO, "2000 National Conference on Correctional Health Care," sponsored by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, at the Cervantes Convention Center. For information,contact NCCHC, (773) 880-1460 or visit http://www.ncchc.org.
September 11, New York, NY, 9:30am-1:00pm. Workshop: Drugs -- Modes of Administration, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $40. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
September 13, New York, NY, "Race-ing Justice: Race and Inequality in America Today," with Manning Marable of Columbia University's Institute for Research in African American Studies. at 122 West 27th Street, 10th floor, sponsored by New York Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, $5 requested but not required, call (212) 229-2388 for information.
September 13-15, Durham, NC, "North American Conference on Fathers Behind Bars and on the Streets," sponsored by the Family & Corrections Network and the National Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families, at the Regal University Hotel. For information, visit http://www.npnff.org or call (202) 737-6680.
September 14, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Harm Reduction and Case Management, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $40. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
September 16, Denver, CO, Families Against Mandatory Minimums Regional Workshop, location to be determined. Call (202) 822-6700 for information or to register.
September 19, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Harm Reduction in Counseling, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
September 22, Los Angeles, CA, 7:00pm. Screening of documentary Emperor of Hemp, to assist with Jack Herer's medical expenses. At Universal Studios, Screening Room #1, admission $50. Contact (888) 870-1002 for further information.
September 27, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Clinical Supervision for Supervisors, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
September 28, Salt Lake City, UT, 1:30pm. Second Annual Community Forum on Drug Sentencing, featuring a keynote address by former New York state chief judge Sol Wachtler, author of After the Madness, sponsored by the Utah Chapter of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. At the Utah State Bar Auditorium, 645 S. 200 East. For further information, call (801) 272-4333 or e-mail [email protected].
October 2, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Harm Reduction Management, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
October 4, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: The Life Process Program: Harm Reduction in Traditional Practice, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
October 6, New York, NY, 9:30am-1:00pm. Workshop: MICA and Harm Reduction, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $40. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
October 11-14, Hamburg, Germany, "Encouraging Health Promotion for Drug Users Within the Criminal Justice System," at the University of Hamburg. For further information and brochure, contact: The Conference Secretariat, c/o Hit Conference, +44 (0) 151 227 4423, fax +44 (0) 151 236 4829, [email protected].
October 18, Minneapolis, MN, 7:00pm-3:00am, Benefit for NORML Minnesota. At 7th St. Entry, First Ave. & 7th St., $5 or free for members. For information, call (612) 871-8780, e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.normlmn.com.
October 21-25, Miami, FL, "Third National Harm Reduction Conference," sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, at the Wyndham Hotel Miami Biscayne Bay. For information, call (212) 213-6376 ext. 31 or e-mail [email protected].
November 1, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Using Creativity in Direct Service, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.
November 3-4, Chicago, IL. Conference on US Policy & Human Rights in Colombia: Where do we go from here? At DePaul University, sponsored by various organizations concerned with Latin America, human rights and peace. For information contact Colombia Bulletin at (773) 489-1255 or e-mail [email protected].
November 11, Charlotte, NC, Families Against Mandatory Minimums Regional Workshop, location to be determined. Call (202) 822-6700 for information or to register.
November 16-19, San Francisco, "Committing to Conscience: Building a Unified Strategy to End the Death Penalty," largest annual gathering of Death Penalty opponents. Call Death Penalty Focus at (888) 2-ABOLISH or visit http://www.ncadp.org/ctc.html for further information.
January 13, 2001, St. Petersburg, FL, Families Against Mandatory Minimums Regional Workshop, location to be determined. Call (202) 822-6700 for information or to register.
Streetwork Project is an innovative outreach-counseling program for homeless youth in mid-Manhattan, which utilizes a harm reduction approach. Services include street outreach, counseling/case management and concrete services. Streetwork is currently hiring for three positions: Wellness Coordinator, Program Director and AIDS Coordinator.
The Wellness Coordinator will develop, oversee and provide practical services to clients. The goal of the wellness component is to introduce techniques that enhance ones ability to remain as healthy as possible, within the context of their own lives, both mentally and physically.
Specific duties include but are not limited to: Developing and facilitating wellness based groups; Providing individual wellness counseling; Coordinating acupuncture program; Coordinating, maintain and distribute wellness supplies; Designing and creating wellness educational materials for population; Networking and establishing contacts within the wellness community; Orienting and training staff on wellness resources and techniques; Participating in staff meetings, training sessions and workshops; Data entry, maintaining case files, statistics and monthly reports; Conducting wellness sessions for specific population groups and in the drop-in center; Enhancing current wellness program.
A bachelors degree and two years work experience or equivalent significant experience working with adolescents and/or homeless populations, and extensive knowledge and practical experience with a variety of mind/body health practices and techniques are required. Salary high 20's - low 30's plus benefits, full-time; some evenings required. Please send cover letter and resume to: David Nish, Director, Streetwork Project, Safe Horizon, 545 8th Ave., 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10018 or fax to (212) 695-2317.
The Program Director opening is for a new site being established on the Lower East Side of Manhattan specifically targeting young injecting drug users and their peers. Responsibilities will include: Coordinating services, referrals and linkages for active drug users; Providing HIV Prevention Case Management; Providing counseling, both crisis and long term, maintaining a caseload and making appropriate referrals, follow-up and escorts; Developing and facilitating support and recreational groups; Daily operation of drop-in center, provision of food, clothing and showers; Data entry, maintaining case files, statistics and monthly reports; Attendance at staff meetings, training sessions, and workshops; Networking and representation with outside agencies; Other assigned duties.
A bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience, experience working with homeless and/or adolescent populations, and knowledge and understanding of Harm Reduction philosophy and practice required. Salary is $31,000, plus full benefits, full time, includes evenings. Send resume and cover letter to Stacey Rubin, Streetwork Project, 545 8th Ave., 22nd floor, New York, NY 10018.
The AIDS Coordinator will have the following responsibilities: AIDS counseling-related program development; Staff training on HIV/AIDS-related issues; Individual and group counseling; Monitoring of in-house and street outreach AIDS education and prevention efforts; Development of AIDS-related referrals and resources; Networking and public presentations; Monthly reports and statistics; Attendance at staff trainings, workshops, and conferences; Other assigned duties.
A bachelor's degree and two years work experience or equivalent significant experience working with adolescents and/or homeless populations, and extensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS, are required. Salary high 20's - low 30's plus benefits. Full-time, some evenings required. Please send cover letter and resume to: David Nish, Director, Streetwork Project, Safe Horizon, 545 8th Ave., 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10018 or fax to (212) 695-2317.
David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected]
When the United Nations convened its global anti-drug summit two years ago, a host of prominent individuals worldwide signed an open letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan, published in the New York Times and proclaiming that "the global war on drugs now causes more harm than drug abuse itself."
US drug czar Barry McCaffrey, testifying before Congress, derided the signatories as "sort of a fringe group." ABC's Nightline highlighted McCaffrey's ludicrousness by airing the comment, showing pictures of such clearly non-fringe signers as former US Secretary of State George Shultz and former UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, then flipping back to McCaffrey, repeating his by then obviously flippant comment, "a fringe group."
Last week in Los Angeles, a similarly august set of leaders joined forces at the Shadow Convention to denounce the war on drugs: New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA).
Two of them, Waters and Conyers, called for McCaffrey's resignation.
More and more respected leaders are speaking up and challenging drug war policies, calling them a "war on people." It was no fringe group that gathered in Los Angeles last week. Not that the hysterical opposition won't call them that and other names, desperate to preserve the rapidly eroding edifice of drug war ideology.
But the depth of harm wrought by our drug war is so great, the need for change so urgent, that names or even campaigns can no longer stop the current, or undercurrent, that is floating our way: the war on drugs must end, and those with sufficient vision are helping to make that come to pass.
Expect to see more such people, soon.
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