Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Deadly Stigma of Addiction | The Fix

The Deadly Stigma of Addiction | The Fix Fantastic article hits the stigma nail right on the head. Fighting stigma is is one of the primary goals of drug user organizing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reality Check for Drug Users and Allies Legal Marijuana Will Not End The Drug War

     Legal marijuana will not end the drug war on users of other substances, not by a long shot. The conditions under which marijuana is defined as legal is also of extreme importance. Until every marijuana conviction currently on record in the U.S.A. is overturned, the prisoners released, and no further arrests are made, or property seized, it's not really legal here. When a marijuana user can face no penalty at all in one state and five years in prison in another for possession of one ounce of dried cannabis flowers there can be no question there is still a great deal of work to be done on behalf of the largest drug user group in america.
     One question that needs to be answered,  is the marijuana legalization movement in favor of the legalization of other substances such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine? Their public statements would indicate otherwise. Many times statements have been made that if law enforcement was no longer under pressure to arrest the ever abundant marijuana users they could then concentrate on users and distributors of other substances and that would be considered a benefit to society. By contrast, drug users of other substances who already face barbaric mandatory minimum sentencing, extreme stigmatization, and much less quality control over the substances distributed to them do not consider increased persecution by the criminal justice system to be of any benefit to them at all.
    If marijuana legalization really is to be a stepping stone on the path to ending the drug war then the effects of that legalization on users of other substances need to be considered now. Safe consumption of all drugs including nicotine and alcohol should be a public health priority no matter what is legal and what is not. Drug users and their allies are encouraged by further legalization efforts but see the need to continue to speak as a voice for the users of all substances not just marijuana.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What if all the doctors who used drugs told us how they did it?

The idea of developing safer modes of ingestion that drug users will use and appreciate for their own benefit seems to have stopped somewhere with crack cocaine pipes, methamphetamine pipes and intravenous syringes. Harm reduction organizations that distribute these items around the world are welcomed by drug users.  Given the health issues that persist for drug users even with brand new clean equipment we have begun to wonder if any funding is being spent on developing new methods of drug delivery? With drug user input? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Start a Drug User Group In Your Town Today!

      Brothers and sisters, drug users, let this idea get into your head, let it swirl around until you too come to the conclusion that it is a possibility wherever groups of drug users can be found. Start by communicating with drug users you know personally, by asking them if they have ever questioned the reasons society at large gives them such a hard time for making independent decisions about what they choose to ingest. The truth is that the reasons for oppressing and stigmatizing drug users are invalid, inhumane, and criminal. When people can begin to accept that the great lie they have been told about themselves is untrue then the next question will be what can we do about it? The answer is organize, advocate for one another, promote your group, and take direct action when necessary.
    Find a place to hold a meeting once in awhile. Go to the places where drug users gather and hand out flyers about drug user activism and the time and place of the meeting. Seek allies at social service organizations that cater to drug users, including methadone clinics, needle exchanges, jails and rehabs if possible. Use social networking including the real time face to face kind. Show up at the meeting and see who else does. It might be lonely at first but eventually the group will attract a core group of drug users actively using or not who will be willing to work at changing the status quo.
       The rest should be left up to whats fits your individual group and it's circumstances. For example you may have good reason to keep your meetings discreet for members only if you live in a place that has laws against drug users congregating for any reason. As your group grows you will want to have some kind of organizing structure and division of responsibilities. Your groups goals may be very simple at first. Just providing a place where drug users can talk to each other without the shame and guilt machine of abstinence only groups breathing down their necks is a truly helpful and noble endeavor. Get the idea out there any way you can that the stigmatization, discrimination against, and incarceration of drug users is wrong for your community and wrong for humanity. Show the powers that be that we can be a force for good in our communities by promoting positive change in the lives of our fellow drug users.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Distribution of Naloxone is a Social Justice Action

When opiate drug users have access to naloxone they prevent overdose deaths in their own communities. The act of arming them with the means to save their own lives also has a profound effect on the way drug users see themselves . Needle exchanges (when available)  showed drug users that someone cared . The training of drug users to administer and distribute naloxone gave us the message that we were capable of, and expected to, take care of ourselves. The idea that we can become powerful positive actors in the drama called the streets puts multiple nails in the coffin of stigmatizing stereotypes.  The lie that drug users are only out for themselves is dead and will stay dead as we find  productive and creative ways to empower ourselves.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marketing Demographics and Voting Blocs

Marketing Demographics and Voting Blocs
   Hello to all the drug users around the globe today from the west coast of the state
known as California, U.S.A., with a special shout out to our brothers and sisters in Iran and
Afghanistan your struggle to avoid execution has been noticed by us and the world media.
The think tank at D.U.R.A.N. has been pondering the issues facing the drug user empowerment
movement in an in depth manner and two important realizations came to mind. Perhaps these
concepts have all been discussed somewhere but these two points of leverage in society,
marketing demographics and voting blocs are too powerful not to utilize to their fullest

Marketing Demographics

We are already being marketed to as a group by ad agencies directly and not just the pharmaceutical
companies but the liquor advertisers, the tobacco advertisers etc. all cater to consumer
groups of drug users. Consumers can influence or even control markets if they are
organized. The marijuana market is driven by users demands for a more potent, and therefore
healthier, product, an equation that has proven successful for producers and consumers
especially in markets where medical marijuana is legal. This principle could apply to other
drugs as well if consumers are able to effectively make cooperative demands for higher
purity substances and even safer methods of ingestion.

Voting Blocs

Marijuana users have been an effective group of drug using voters for over 40 years in the
U.S.A. One of their main achievements has been to reduce but certainly not eliminate the
stigma society attaches to cannabis ingestion. The other magnificent achievement was that
in those states where it was legal they were able to create a collective system of
distribution and many more medical marijuana patients (who would be labeled and criminalised
for being drug users in any state where it is still illegal) were able to receive the
healthiest, high quality medication available.A system that was and is completely
implemented and activated by the medical marijuana patients themselves.

   Imagine if this level of organized political activity were to be realized by chronic
pain patients for example. There are plenty of good reasons for them to band together and
protest the draconian laws, false accusations of "med seeking" behavior,and pain contracts
they are subject to as a part of their treatment. If the pharmaceutical companies simply
acknowledged the huge numbers of users their opiate pain medications are being diverted to they
might change strategies and market products that are easily water soluble without binders
or fillers that need to be filtered out.

   The Drug User Rights Action Network is not suggesting however, that drug user groups
should organize under the banner of any one particular drug, substance, mode of ingestion
or experience. Our power in numbers, experience, and especially enthusiasm for engaging in
promoting the cause of drug user empowerment is finite at this time and it is time to cast
as wide a net as possible for drug users who can find the time and energy to contribute.
Other groups of oppressed peoples have gone before us and we can be inspired by the successful improvements they have made to their lives and communities as a result of realizing their power.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Repost ; The Deluded Mantras of Addiction by Stanton Peele

From the Huffington Post The Deluded Mantras of Addiction

Dr. Peele drops some more mad science on the treatment world exposing their fallacies and even calling harm reductionists to task. If you understand the full ramifications of what he is saying then you might perceive the depth of the injustices perpetrated on drug users in the name of "treatment". The disease model of addiction is a lie used to justify the drug war.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Current Obstacles to Drug User Activism in the U.S.A.

     As it stands today the drug user groups in the U.S.A are few and far between in comparison to the millions of drug users present throughout the entire country. It is important that supporters of drug user activism spend time speculating as to why this is the case. By comparison, drug user unions have been present in Europe for over thirty years and have been increasingly effective in influencing government policy as well as providing services for their members during that time. Drug user unions in Canada have also been arguably more active and successful in organizing larger numbers of drug users .
    The exact reasons as to why there are such differences is not clear presently. There are however, several aspects of American society that may contribute to the current lack of drug user activism. Number one is the fact that we live in a police state. Incarceration levels in the U.S.A. are at their highest levels ever. The number of drug users in prison for non violent drug related crimes is grossly underestimated at 500,000. To identify as a person who has used or does use illegal drugs is to become a target of the prison industrial complex. That's in addition to the psychologically traumatizing cultural stigmatization imposed on drug users whether they have been clean 10 years, ten minutes, or never. The issue of how drug user activists identify themselves will have to be resolved in order to encourage a broad spectrum of drug users to participate in the movement.
     The second reason for a comparatively inactive movement here in the U.S.A. may be the trend in american politics to discourage it's citizens from engaging in that same political process. American laws that prevent felons from voting are but one example of the disenfranchisement of drug users. With the notable exception of the marijuana legalization movement (more on that in a later blog post), users of other substances have not been supported vocally or financially in their quest for civil rights or decriminalization. It is a new idea to think of the millions of drug users as a political force and it is a new experience for the drug users themselves after generations of mind numbing oppression.
    Hopefully if enough drug users are encouraged to throw off the shackles of marginalization they will recognize their strength in numbers and organize throughout the United States of America. In places where the idea of drug user activism and organizing has so far been nonexistent the message of empowerment will be welcomed by communities sick of the failed drug war. Drug use is no longer an excuse for apathy that lie is dead. Drug users are becoming the enlightened community leaders forging a new paradigm. Join us.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Iran's children look on and families cry for pardons at daily hangings

Repost from the Guardian UK 
"A number of crimes such as murder and rape – and even homosexuality – can send a convict to the gallows, but it is the drug-related offences that accounted for more than 80% of the killings in the country last year. Latest figures on the number of executions that are known to have been carried out in 2011 globally indicate that half of the killings took place in Iran, although China, which considers the precise figures about its use of death penalty as a state secret, is not included in the calculation and still remains at the top of the list."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Report: Ban on medical care at drug rehab centers must end | California Watch

Report: Ban on medical care at drug rehab centers must end | California Watch Did you think we were kidding about human rights abuses of drug users here in California? It is just as bad here as anywhere on earth. What passes for treatment here equals psychological torture and criminal negligence.

"In several cases clients died, according to the report:
  • At The Living Center, in Modesto, a marketing staff member admitted a man who was shaking, couldn't walk and whose skin was yellow. He was later sent to a hospital, where he died, the report says. The marketing employee who admitted the patient said that “unless a client fell down during time of admission, he would not see a need for medical attention,” the report says.
  • The state medical board alleged that a 29-year-old woman who drowned in a bathtub was too sick to be properly treated at Bay Recovery in San Diego. Dr. Jerry Rand, who treated her, denied responsibility for her death. Another patient died before the state suspended the program's license.
  • At A Better Tomorrow in Riverside County, a man who needed an oxygen tank was admitted to the program, but his oxygen was not supplied. He died one day later. It was the fourth death at that facility.
State officials eventually revoked the license of the facility, but A Better Tomorrow continues to run other homes.
Two former program staffers told Senate investigators that even after the fourth death, the program administrators “ ‘pushed people’ who appeared too sick to be in the program.”
One former staffer said a woman with a medical condition that required an adjustable bed was promised one and then given a normal twin bed. The program admitted another woman who was delusional and so lethargic that she nearly fell asleep in her food. Former program employees said the woman wound up later spending three days in an intensive care unit."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cult Culture and the 12 Steps | The Fix

Cult Culture and the 12 Steps | The Fix  This article states that Walden House and Delancey Street are cults based on a cult (Synanon). This is an example of drug treatment that has turned into physical and psychological abuse.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Manifest Destiny: The Expansion of Drug User Groups in the U.S.A. and Around the World

    The time has come brothers and sisters, to marshall our forces and take steps to promote the formation of drug user groups in all the cities, towns, and states of the United States of America, and the rest of the planet. Most of us know intimately of the discrimination and stigmatization drug users suffer in our individual localities, but to conceptualize the extent to which real atrocities occur daily, on a global basis, to drug users is a truly staggering and painful thing to understand. The handful of groups run by drug users for drug users in current existence is in a statistically insignificant proportion to the vast numbers of drug users, an undeniable fact, and for the good of all the communities we participate in this situation needs to change.
   There are far too many places in the USA for example, where the idea that drug users could possibly speak up and advocate for themselves is a completely foreign idea.  Systematically, drug users are brainwashed into believing they are the lowest elements of society and are therefore powerless.This lie is only true if we believe it. We are actually capable of doing much more for ourselves and the places we live then we have been led to believe.
   Right now is the time to pursue the expansion of drug user groups as far and as wide as possible. The rest of the world is waking up to what we have known for so long. The Drug War is a war on all human beings, but especially drug users who suffer the most, have lost the most, and have the most to lose as it continues. We cannot put all our trust in others to guide us and protect us it is time to realize the power we already have to organize, advocate for, and empower, our fellow drug users.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nothing About Us Without Us? Are You Sure About That?

    Why is it important for those who claim to speak for us to identify as drug users?
We at DURAN  strongly believe that if you are making decisions on our behalf and yet are afraid to identify as a drug user then you may be part of the problem.We are so stigmatized by the labels placed upon us that we have to reclaim our identity and make it reflect the truth. The truth is that we are beautiful positive people who desire to have control over our bodies and what we choose to ingest.
    It is not a question of martyrdom or asking anyone to confess to illegal activity.The criminal justice systems of the world make being fully truthful dangerous for us and no one should risk incarceration unnecessarily. The reality of the situation is that if you have ever been busted for drugs, been forced into rehab, failed a drug test, or just looked high one time back in the 80's you have been labeled a "drug user" and you might as well wear it with pride. The old adage "once an addict always an addict" may not be technically true but "once stigmatized, affected for the rest of our lives" is a certain truth for drug users in this society.
   Check out the previous blog post "Definition of a Drug User" and you will see that the definition is broad.Therefore if you are ready to "come out" as a drug user and participate in our struggle for dignity and human rights then you are welcome to speak as a member of our tribe.If not then we will rightfully question your motives because it is necessary for our survival.

Why are bath salts and synthetic cannabis a problem?

They are a "problem" because methamphetamine and cannabis are illegal. This forces drug users, especially those being tested for drugs to seek untested and unregulated alternatives. See how prohibition is unhealthy for drug users and other living things?
See this article Mesh Report: Bath Salt Ban which points out the fact that emergency room medics and other first responders would rather be dealing with a drug user high on methamphetamine or cocaine than bath salts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Greatest Way To Reduce Harm To Drug Users Is To Empower Them

     The fact is most drug users around the globe have been brainwashed into believing they have no power and are less than human. This is not true. Drug users no matter what or how much they are using can advocate for themselves and each other. We need help and assistance from health agencies, social justice organizations and other allies. What we do not need is to be treated in a paternalistic manner as if we were mentally handicapped children, nor as amoral criminals beyond redemption.     
    We are considered beyond redemption unless we get "clean" and conform to a moral standard that does not exist in reality and also belies ignorance that drug use is an integral part of the human condition. It is time for drug users to escape such bondage and declare that we are through playing the shame game. Released from the mental shackles of shame and stigma we can see each other for who we truly are, human beings capable of much more than we have been led to believe.
   The time has come for the billion plus drug users around the globe to assert themselves and demand to be treated with respect and dignity instead of incarceration, torture, and murder. We do not need any ones permission to advocate and organize for ourselves. Our greatest enemy will be the internalized stigma that has been forcefully ingrained in us by the hypocrites who seek to keep drug users enslaved by their judgemental condemnation.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Documentation of Abuses at Vietnamese Drug detention Centers

Link to various versions of the report by Human Rights Watch.

Amazing article on UNODC from OSF

"These reports identified instances when UNODC projects facilitated the arrests that led to death sentences or executions as well as the development of drug detention centres, where former detainees told of being subject to forced labour and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment."

Human Rights Commission

Human Rights Commission John Lorenz Executive Director DURAN testified before the San Francisco Human Rights Comission. My testimony is at 2:01:00

Monday, June 11, 2012

Documentation of a Medical Human Rights Abuse

     See this PDF of a liver transplant denial and join DURAN in denouncing this heinous torture of liver, kidney, and other vital organ transplant patients. It is common now  to deny transplant patients for using medical marijuana even if it's legal in the patients home state. What this article about two Cedars-Sinai patients reveals is that they are being physically tortured for continuing to use medical marijuana.
     How are they being tortured? In the case of Toni Trujillo she is going to have to continue on kidney dialysis while she goes to the back of the list she waited on for 6 years. In other words the hospital is coercing the patients into medical compliance by forcing them to continue living with a painful, chronic, life threatening illness, and to have to continue with an extremely painful, debilitating, and disfiguring, treatment. Sounds a lot like torture. No human being should be subjected to such treatment unnecessarily or denied proper medical care for the act of ingesting any substance.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Defining Human Rights Abuses of Drug Users

      If we look at the following UN document The Universal Declaration of Human Rights it can be seen plainly that drug users should have the same rights  as any other person. The Articles of the declaration define those rights specifically. When drug using humans are incarcerated, tortured, or denied proper medical care for example, those are acts prohibited by the United Nations definition of human rights. There are millions of documented cases. The Drug User Rights Action Network will attempt to compile a database of  public documents detailing these abuses.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Mission

The following is a list of some of the goals of D.U.R.A.N. aka The Drug User Rights Action Network :
1. To highly publicize the human rights abuses of drug users .
2. Form a coalition of drug user groups and other organizations that explicitly support drug user rights.
3. Promote the formation  of new drug user unions/groups in California and the United States.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Definition of a Drug User

The Drug User Rights Action Network defines a "drug user" as anyone who consciously or subconsciously has at any time ingested a substance with the intended goal of changing mood, perception, or consciousness. This includes all illegal and legal substances.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Drug User Rights Are Being Abused Globally

     The time has come, friends and family, to acknowledge that a terrible crime against humanity has been committed. A crime whose roots stretch far beyond the time in history when the the modern day "War on Drugs" began. Humans have a long history of ingesting substances that alter our moods or consciousness. What is not acknowledged forthrightly in recorded human histories is the moral ambivalence about mood altering/ psychoactive substances exhibited by cultures and civilizations that have in turn created laws that define legal versus illegal use of various substances.                                    
       This moral lassitude has encouraged an atmosphere where governments in cooperation with law enforcement authorities commit human rights abuses on a daily basis against people who use drugs. Crimes that include murder and torture among others. The ripple effect of this criminal justice nightmare reverberates throughout our society, causing immeasurable damage to our ability to create stable communities in which human Endeavour can flourish. Meanwhile we continue to chemically alter our moods despite the consequences by the billions on a daily basis.
       We the Drug Users Rights Action Network plan to expose this global moral dilemma and demand changes in the way that human society addresses this issue. The abuses of the civil and human rights of drug users must end in order for humanity to progress further. We demand compassion for all drug users around the globe and an end to the immoral persecution of people who use drugs.