Drug Reformers Take Stock of Attitudes Moving Their Way

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

BY NATHAN RILEY | Underneath the jubilant mood that swept through last week’s Drug Policy Alliance international conference in Washington was a realization that the campaign to respect the human rights of drug users is proceeding slowly, even as marijuana legalization picks up speed.

Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, campaigned for marijuana legalization. Colorado’s experience with open sale shows no jump in youthful toking while tax revenues climb. Three other states — Alaska, Washington, and Oregon — also legalized.

Next year, there will be a referendum to enact legalization in California, and Bernie Sander has made legal pot a plank in his campaign for president.

One United States senator sent greetings and two members of Congress spoke to the plenary session of the leading drug reform organization. A working majority exists in Congress to permit states to liberalize marijuana laws. State’s rights is no longer solely a conservative catch phrase, it is a new haven for progressive causes, as well.

Harm reduction measures like needle exchanges now enjoy bipartisan support in the wake of the largest HIV outbreak in Indiana’s history. More than 160 people tested positive in rural Scott County — most of the cases linked to injection drug use. Suddenly, Republicans dropped their opposition to the distribution of sterile needles for injecting users.

Cory Booker, the Democratic senator from New Jersey, sent televised greetings endorsing the philosophy of drug reform. Hakeem Jeffries from Brooklyn enthused over the bipartisan support for drug law sentencing reform. Jeffries did not look like a man who wanted to be mayor, but sounded pleased to be in Congress. Earl Blumenauer, another Democrat, from Portland, Oregon, spoke with pride of his state’s decision to allow marijuana purchases, vindicating a position he endorsed decades ago.

New York City is gathering the courage to combat HIV infections among homeless and destitute drug users. Quietly, preliminary steps are being taken to allow safe injection facilities. Injecting in public parks, underneath bridges, behind garbage cans leads to reuse of needles and facilitates transmission of the viruses causing HIV and Hepatitis C. A study demonstrates the likelihood of both increased arrests and adverse health outcomes when users inject in public places like restaurant bathrooms.

Dan O’Connell, director of the New York State Health Department’s AIDS Institute, and Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner, both appeared in a documentary that was favorable to the creation of health facilities for injecting users where a nurse is present. In Vancouver, where millions of injections have occurred in such facilities, no overdose has led to a death — even when a batch of overly potent street heroin led to 16 ODs in two days. Zero fatalities in an attractive outcome and particularly compelling to New York officials, who have witnessed an increase in overdose deaths here since 2010.

Unreasoned fear, however, still provokes punitive solutions. While efforts to remove the stigma surrounding drug use build, the rise of a synthetic marijuana that can cause serious side-effects has led to new demands for criminal prosecution and almost no calls for legalizing real weed, which would take the market away from this dangerous product.

In California, the fight for over-the-counter sales of marijuana will be decided by the tenor of the 2016 campaign debate. If the legalization measure becomes identified with “let’s party hearty,” it will fail. About 30 percent of California voters are undecided, so whichever side captures the support of swing voters will win the election. Many Latino and black voters are on the fence. Success will depend on smokers making a sensible case for their habit and a campaign that credibly argues that controlling marijuana will be fairer and more effective with legalization.

The indefatigable Harry Levine, whose research exposed the racial bias in the New York City Police Department’s pot busts, warned that real progress doesn’t come from new laws. In 1977, New York decriminalized pot and even with this liberal law on the books, the city became the marijuana arrest capital of the world due to a “public view” exception. Policing strategies and tactics undermined progressive policies and led to racially biased enforcement.

The Alliance is well aware that even after reforms take effect, the police may shift priorities to crimes like open container laws, riding bicycles on the sidewalk, and others — and continue racially biased enforcement. Ethan Nadelmann, the Alliance’s executive director, is making a determined effort to partner with Black Lives Matter. The group was invited to the confab and time was set aside for socializing. This group, whose stature keeps growing, directly challenges law enforcement’s control over the bodies of people of color. They make a more fundamental challenge to racism than any law making pot legal.

The Drug Policy Alliance’s objective is to make the world understand that drug use is normal and appreciate the humanity of users. This is an international movement. In April, the UN General Assembly will review treaties criminalizing drug use. The referendums legalizing pot in the US have reverberated in Latin America. Uruguay adopted legalization, and the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting possession violated the human rights of pot smokers. The underground drug markets in Latin America cause violent crime waves that shake the foundations of society, so the shift in Latin American opinion was a big factor in creating a majority calling for the General Assembly session.

There is a slow realization that governments have exaggerated the dangers of use. The delusion that using drugs necessarily enslaves a person into hopeless addiction feeds a pernicious stigma that causes violations of human rights. Fighting beliefs that dehumanize drug users exposes the deep philosophical ties that unite drug reform with other human rights pushes, including gay rights. For much of the 20th century, homosexuals were assumed to be dangers to the national security and children, by recruiting innocents into a queer life. It was assumed society could and should change “them.”

The stigma and shame moralistic attitudes like that create are today imposing a heavy burden on drug users, one that the anti-drug general public may well be blissfully unaware of. One popular T-shirt at the Washington gathering read simply, “Nice people do drugs.”


Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reader feedback

health insurance says:
Amazing article. I am so impressed. Could never think of such a thing is possible with it...I think you have a great knowledge especially while dealings with such subjects
Dec. 15, 2015, 1:19 am
Thomas says:
Such an informative article! Here I got the real scenario of drug users and it's really true that drug reforms the attitudes of the people. I hope that everybody will be aware by reading this constructive article. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.
Dec. 26, 2015, 12:23 am
Travel Insurance says:
Astounding article. I am so inspired. Could never consider a wonder such as this is conceivable with it...I think you have an incredible learning particularly while dealings with such subjects
Jan. 18, 2016, 4:34 am
roknelbeet says:
Such an informative article! Here I got the real scenario of drug users and it's really true that drug reforms the attitudes of the people. I hope that everybody will be aware by reading this constructive article. Thanks a lot for sharing with us. Clean Villas in Riyadh Clean Riyadh Cleaning houses in Riyadh
April 14, 2016, 8:18 am
Health Insurance says:
Nice article on drug reforms attitude. Lots of people drugs addicts in the world. Your post god for everyon.
April 19, 2016, 8:31 am
Insurance Plans says:
Even i liked it too. We have to be really careful..
May 24, 2016, 5:18 am
Car Insurance says:
It is really an informative article. The information, provided in this article, will no doubt lead a positive path for the drug addicts from all around the world.
June 24, 2016, 7:16 am
Travel Insurance says:
I am really appreciated your writing skill, Its very good, you clear the every point.
July 27, 2016, 5:16 am
Home Insurance says:
Admin share your next post on my email id.
July 28, 2016, 5:27 am
Rami Misbah Taha says:
It is truly an educational article. The data, gave in this article, will probably lead a positive way for the medication addicts from all around the globe.
Aug. 26, 2016, 3:21 am
Jazmyn Prima says:
Hi I would just like to say that I enjoyed looking at your web site and to wish you good luck with it as it progresses - Jazmyn Prima
Sept. 6, 2016, 11:57 am
Gerald Baum says:
Much something worth mulling over. What's more, no- - not doom and misery, but rather superb focuses about what we as people can do to affect the eventual fate of this planet.
June 20, 2017, 6:42 am
kjain9825 says:
Great article+
July 6, 2017, 7:17 am
RRB Admit Card says:
Thanks! Great share
Oct. 1, 2017, 8:03 pm
Veronika says:
Drugs are destroying millions of youth around the world...
Dec. 29, 2017, 6:10 am
Vishal says:
Thanks for sharing this post and enlightening world about this.
Dec. 29, 2017, 6:11 am
alok nath says:
Drugs just kills self respect of person
Dec. 29, 2017, 6:26 am
RRB says:
Thanxx for sharing this.
Jan. 25, 2018, 6:03 am
Jasa SEO says:
Such an informative article! Here I got the real scenario of drug users and it's really true that drug reforms the attitudes of the people.
Feb. 8, 2018, 7:09 am
RRB Kolkata says:
Thanks for sharing nice information.
March 6, 2018, 6:15 am
RRB Chennai says:
Thanks for sharing this information.
March 10, 2018, 1:24 am
ITI Admission says:
Thanks for sharing this information.
March 14, 2018, 9:34 am
KEAM 2018 Admit Card says:
KEAM 2018 Admit Card will be released through online mode on 10th April 2018. Candidates are advised to download the KEAM 2018 Admit Card from Official Website.
March 26, 2018, 6:52 am
Sarkari Job says:
Nyc info.. Government Jobs offer an opportunity to turn your aspirations into reality. If you aspire to work in the mainstream and be a part of the nation's economic development, a job in the Government Sector may be the best option for you. Every year a number of job opportunities become available in the Government Sector. for more info:-
March 28, 2018, 6:15 am
RRB ALP Admit Card says:
Something really unique! Great job!
April 5, 2018, 7:24 am
RRB ALP Admit Card says:
This is the great information…
April 5, 2018, 7:24 am
adi says:
Candidates can download the Admit Card WBJEE from 10th April 2018. The exam will be conducted on 22nd April 2018 through offline mode (OMR Sheet).
April 5, 2018, 8:51 am
yojana says:
The story article is so beautiful
April 28, 2018, 11:04 am
Click Here says:
Very nice thanks for sharing
May 3, 2018, 6:50 am
SGP Terbaru says:
will no doubt lead a positive path for the drug addicts from all around the world.
May 28, 2018, 7:57 am
SSC CGL Syllabus says:
I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page.
June 22, 2018, 4:42 am

Comments closed.


Schneps Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: