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.