The Ignorance and the Damage Done 3/4/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!


http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/377/moredamage.shtml

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected]

David Borden
Two weeks ago, DRCNet reported on the "Souder Circus," an anti-harm reduction hearing -- with some esteemed harm reduction representation -- convened by the Drug Policy Subcommittee, of the US House of Representatives' Committee on Government Reform -- a grouping chaired by arch-drug warrior Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN). I attended that hearing, and it quickly became clear what Souder's agenda was. Souder was getting ready to go after harm reduction -- strategies like needle exchange to the reduce disease and death associated with drug use -- on an international scale. He imported several representatives of Asian anti-drug organizations to make the point -- but no Asian AIDS groups, and none at all from Europe where harm reduction is most advanced. The issue is now in full press, with US diplomats exerting growing pressure on agencies like the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Two months ago, an anonymous writer in Pittsburgh's Tribune Review paper borrowed the Neil Young song title, "The Needle and the Damage Done," for an editorial. Well, you never know if it was the author or staff at the paper who supply an editorial's title. But that's what the title was. Unfortunately, the piece was less a lament over addiction than a poorly conceived attack piece against harm reduction. The ignorance such screeds embody might be pardonable if they did not reflect great and willful prejudice. And the consequences of such ignorance are themselves wreaking much -- very much -- damage, around the world and within the US itself.

The AIDS epidemic is exploding in new populations around the world, particularly in developing nations whose resources for offering the expensive treatments common in more wealthy nations are much more scant. According to a statement this week by Human Rights Watch, drug injecting accounts for a majority of HIV cases in China, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal, the Baltic states, and all of Central Asia, as well as much of Southeast Asia and South America. Russia, HRW points out, has more HIV cases now than all of North American, and drug injection is responsible for as many as 80% of them.

That is why pressure is growing on our side of the issue, too. The HRW statement was issued on the occasion of the release of an open letter on the topic signed by numerous organizations from 56 nations around the world, including the very nations represented by anti-drug groups at Mark Souder's hearings two weeks before. Editorials in both the New York Times and the Washington Post were right on time, criticizing the Bush administration's stance on the issue last weekend.

To be blunt, if the Souders of the world have their way with the UN, untold millions will die, unnecessarily. In the face of such a catastrophe, a catastrophe already in progress, "the needle and the damage done" hardly speaks to anything useful. A better refrain for our time might be "the ignorance and the damage done." Ignorance which greatly increases the harm of the needle.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #377 -- 3/4/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

The Ignorance and the Damage Done | International Harm Reduction Battle Heating Up | National Drug Control Strategy Taking Lumps from All Sides | Under New South Dakota Anti-Meth Law, Drug Use Equals Child Abuse | DRCNet Needs You to Write the Senate | DRCNet/Perry Fund Event to Feature Rep. John Conyers and Kemba Smith, March 9 in Washington, DC | Coasters to Stop the Drug War | Events and Conferences Coming Up for Drug Reformers -- Come Out and Be a Part of It | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: Four Canadian Mounties Killed Raiding Marijuana Grow | Newsbrief: Legalize It, Says Business Week Columnist | Newsbrief: Washington State Drug Reform Coalition Launches Campaign | Newsbrief: Texas Racial Profiling Study Finds No Progress, Calls for Ban on Consent Searches | Newsbrief: Arkansas Bill That Would Have Cut Methamphetamine Sentences Defeated | Newsbrief: Utah Treatment Not Jail Bill Dying For Lack of Funding | Newsbrief: Colombia Guerrillas Demand Return of Commander Extradited to US | Newsbrief: British Opposition Promises Tough New Drug War if Elected | Newsbrief: As British Parties Embrace Student Drug Testing, Research Report Flashes Caution Light | Newsbrief: "The Marijuana-Logues" Tour Cancelled After Parole Officer Forces Tommy Chong to Quit | A Drug War Carol Now Available in Spanish and French | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]