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.