I’ve often felt in years past that our struggle to end the drug war is relentlessly uphill. But that’s changing now, sometimes more quickly than even I can believe.The principal reason is us, by which I mean every person who grasps the lunacy of drug policies in this country and throughout much of the world, and who takes some action – no matter how small – to advance a better way.
It’s time now for DPA – the Drug Policy Alliance – to launch a new organizational identity that fully expresses each of our roles as agents of change.
This change represents the once-unimaginable progress that you and I have made over the past decade to bring drug policy reform that much closer to the tipping point. Now is the time to make drug policy reform more personal – creating an even greater sense of moral urgency, connecting the dots with more allies, and building on the common interests of everyone who makes up this movement. We can keep chipping away at the drug war but it won’t really end until a critical mass of people, communities and elected officials demand a new way of dealing with drugs in our society. That’s why we are the Drug Policy Alliance.
I’m often asked, “Who is this growing drug policy reform movement?”
We vary of course in what brings us to this cause. We are people who care about fundamental freedoms, civil liberties and human rights. We are people who care about social and economic justice. We are people who want to end racism. We are people who want addiction treated as a health issue rather than a criminal justice problem. We are people who want honest drug education for our youth that fosters trust rather than fear. And every one of us – no matter our reason – believes that the war on drugs is not the way to deal with the reality of drugs in our society. That’s why we are the Drug Policy Alliance.
We come from across the drug use spectrum. We are people who consume drugs responsibly, who don’t cause problems for anyone else, and who resent being treated as criminals. We are people who hate drugs and who have seen the worst that drugs can do – the addiction, disease, death and destruction of families – but who nonetheless believe that the war on drugs is doing far more harm than good. And we are people who frankly don’t care about drugs one way or the other – but who do care about preserving the Bill of Rights and our constitutional liberties, who are disgusted by what our government is doing with our tax dollars, and who recoil at what the drug war is doing not just in the U.S. but in Latin America, Afghanistan and elsewhere.