June 17th, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a WAR AGAINST DRUGS. Some 40 years later, this war has clearly been lost, yet we are still paying for this failure. The Drug Policy Alliance coordinated community-based groups across the country to respond to this nightmare with events across the country designed to commemorate this date.
Billions of dollars later, and after millions of lives and communities have been lost, we are looking for a new approach to this problem. MI Welfare Rights commemorated this event in Detroit with a town hall meeting on Friday, June 17th, 2011. The event was electric!
Testimony was taken from those most affected by drug use and the terrible costs associated with it. Young men in their early 20's talked about the futility of going to jail for small amounts of marijuana, coming out with a prison record, not able to secure work, no training, re-jailed, re-released, no hope - no chance, no future. Not one eye was dry after hearing this testimony over and over again.
Professionals who work in this area spoke of the daily failures they witness because we continue to use the model given us by the same people who allow drug trafficking to take place all over the nation. So great were the conversations and so intense were the testimonies, that we had to continue these talks and planning sessions to occur the next day at another event.
The consensus of all who attended is that we cannot and will not address drug use as designed by the Nixon declaration that has done nothing but condemn our communities to terror and to create the atmosphere of fear and hopelessness among most folks. Stay tuned for more info along with pictures of the events that took place.
Image courtesy of The Intersection | Madness & Reality blog