DRCNet has been quoted and placed articles in many of the nation's major media outlets, including CNN, Associated Press, USA Today, BET, New York Times, Washington Post and many others. Much of our media coverage has been achieved with the Higher Education Act Reform Campaign, a major lobbying effort we have coordinated since 1998. However, we are regularly contacted by media outlets who find us on the Internet. Most recently, DRCNet associate director David Guard played an extensive role providing information and arranging contacts and interviews for the producers of a forthcoming documentary on medical marijuana to be aired on the Showtime network.
Projects and Campaigns
Prohibition in the Media
Using the "Stop the Drug War Speakeasy" blogosphere project as a platform, DRCNet is beginning a campaign to persuade mainstream media outlets into recognizing the consequences of drug prohibition as such. Prohibition in the Media will focus on situations involving drug trade violence, overdose outbreaks and other problems caused by drugs' illegal status, providing reporters and editors with credible spokespersons who represent the legalization viewpoint who are available to be quoted in their stories.
World's Largest Online Drug Policy Library
The "Stop the Drug War Speakeasy"
Beginning with this web site relaunch (August 2006), DRCNet offers the "Stop the Drug War Speakeasy," an online center where drug reformers and others concerned with the issue gather; a place where DRCNet and other movement leaders give readers their take each day on the latest developments in the issue; and an intellectual spearhead taking the reform and anti-prohibitionist viewpoint to the world of political and policy debate. The Speakeasy launches DRCNet into the realm of daily content provision, and will be the focus of a major outreach effort targeting the blogosphere.
Coordination and Support
DRCNet makes extensive efforts to grow and support the whole of the drug policy reform movement. For example, a typical issue of our newsletter, Drug War Chronicle, cites or otherwise promotes the work of 10-20 other groups working in the issue.
DRCNet also has notable achievements in the creation of other organizations that have gone on to be independent actors in the field. Groups for which DRCNet played the principle role in their founding include Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Flex Your Rights Foundation, and Drugsense.
Click here to read one leading activist's account of how DRCNet's steady movement-building work not only brought him in to the cause but led to a major victory for medical marijuana.
Rapid Response Team
DRCNet distributes action alerts, many of them legislative, on the full range of drug policy reform issues: ending mandatory minimum sentencing; supporting medical marijuana and needle exchange; reining in asset forfeiture; opposing the Andean drug war are just a few of our causes. Our e-mail list boasts over 32,000 subscribers (as of July 2006), but the true number of people we reach through redistribution on lists managed by the many activists on our own list is far greater. Since 1999 many of our alerts have made use of web-based forms to facilitate our members' contacting their legislators in Congress or the state houses.
Click here to read our current action alerts.
Drug War Chronicle
Published weekly since 1997, Drug War Chronicle is an in-depth online report on the full range of drug policy issues and reform efforts. We believe it is fair to say that Drug War Chronicle is truly the world's leading drug policy newsletter -- there is no other news outlet that provides the same degree of comprehensive, original coverage -- Drug War Chronicle is simply the best way to keep up with the issue. Click here to learn read more about it and to view the current and past issues.
(The accompanying picture shows Chronicle editor Phil Smith interviewing former opium-growing villagers in the countryside outside Jalalabad in 2005.)
Out from the Shadows
An estimated 300 people attended The First Latin American Legalization Summit, or Out from the Shadows Mérida, at the Autonomous University of the Yucatan in Mexico, February 12-15, 2003, including Mexican activists, national legislators and advocates throughout Latin America, Americans, Europeans, and numerous students and interested members of the community -- an historic, first of its kind, global summit calling for and end to drug prohibition. Though the event's primary focus was on legalization, the coca issue was also dealt with extensively. Among the important leaders from the cocalero movement were Felipe Quispe of the Bolivia Parliament and Nancy Obregon of Peru. Other events in this international legalization conference series included an institutional two-day event at the European Parliament in Brussels in September 2002 and a press conference with Canadian Sen. Pierre Claude Nolin in Washington in April 2003.
This program is currently inactive due to lack of funding. If you are interested in supporting an international legalization conference, please contact us! Seed costs for the next conference should be in the neighborhood of $50,000US.
Please view video footage and photographs from Mérida online! Our thanks to Jim & Ellen Fields of Eclectech Media in Mérida, and to Radio Radicale, for their outstanding work documenting this historic event, as well as Jeremy Bigwood for photography. View or listen to Eclectech video or audio of most of the conference, English and Spanish versions available. Visit Radio Radicale for video as well as interviews from the conference, in the original language of the presenters.
Check out our "Road to Mérida" interview series:
Mario Menéndez, Publisher of !Por Esto!, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Dr. Jaime Malamud-Goti, former Argentine Solicitor General
Dr. Francisco Fernandez, Anthropologist and Former Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán
Gustavo de Greiff, Former Prosecutor General of Colombia
Luis Gómez, Andean Bureau Chief for Narco News
Ricardo Sala, ViveConDrogas.com (Live With Drugs), Mexico
Dr. Silvia Inchaurraga, Argentine Harm Reductionist
María Mercedes Moreno of Mama Coca
Luiz Paulo Guanabara, Brazil, Executive Director of Psico-Tropicus
Click here for further background on DRCNet and Out from the Shadows.
Organizations participating in the Out from the Shadows campaign:
ABRAÇO • Ale Yarok • Asociación Civil DRIS • Asociación Mexicana de Estudios del Cannabis • Asociación de Reducción de Daños de la Argentina • Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy • Centro de Investigación de la Comunicación Social • Centro de Mídia Independente Belo Horizonte • Cocachasqui • Common Sense for Drug Policy • Criminal Justice Policy Foundation • DEBED vzw • DieCannabisKampagne • Drug Policy Alliance • Drug Reform Coordination Network • Droleg • Drug Policy Forum of California • Drug Users Advocacy Group of Amsterdam • Efficacy • Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform • Forum Droghe • Fuoriluogo • Grupo Ekologiko Ayün • International Antiprohibitionist League • International Coalition of NGOs for Just and Effective Drug Policies • JES Rhein-Main • John Mordaunt Trust • Law Enforcement Against Prohibition • Mild Green Media Centre • Movimiento Canábico de Perú • Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies • National Association for Public Health Policy • Netherlands Drug Policy Foundation • November Coalition • Parliamentarians for Antiprohibitionist Action • Por Esto! • Psicotropicus • ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy • Red Latinoamericana de Reduccion de Daños • SOMA Associação Portuguesa Antiproibicionista • Students for Sensible Drug Policy • Transform - the Campaign for Effective Drug Policy • Transnational Radical Party • Trebach Institute • Tri-State Drug Policy Forum • Unitarian Universalists for Drug Policy Reform • Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán • Virginians Against Drug Violence
The John W. Perry Fund
John William Perry was a New York City police officer and a Libertarian Party and ACLU activist who spoke out against the "war on drugs." He was also a lawyer, athlete, actor, linguist and humanitarian. On the morning of September 11, John Perry was at One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan filing retirement papers when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Without hesitation he went to help, losing his life rescuing others. This scholarship program, which addresses a drug war injustice, is dedicated to his memory. John Perry's academic achievements are also an inspiring example for students: He was fluent in several languages, graduated from NYU Law School and prosecuted NYPD misconduct cases for the department. Learn more about the Perry Fund or download an application here.
Photo shows US Rep. John Conyers arriving to address the March 2006 Perry Fund reception in Washington.
Higher Education Act Reform Campaign
Since 1998 DRCNet has campaigned for repeal of the drug provision of the Higher Education Act (also known as the "Aid Elimination Penalty,") a 1998 law that delays or denies federal financial aid to people convicted of state or federal drug offenses -- since taking effect in the fall of 2000, nearly 200,000 students have been denied aid under this law. The major component of this effort has been our coordination of the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (CHEAR), a coalition including some of the nation's leading religious, criminal justice, drug treatment, education, civil rights and health organizations which seeks to repeal the drug provision. Ten members of Congress spoke at our May 2002 press conference, a record in drug policy reform.
The campaign scored a major victory in February 2006, when the drug provision was scaled back to apply only to people whose drug offenses were committed while they were in school and receiving federal aid.
Also in February, DRCNet issued our first major report, published under the auspices of CHEAR, "Falling Through the Cracks: Loss of State-Based Financial Aid Eligibility for Students Affected by the Federal Higher Education Act Drug Provision," finding that a majority of states deny state financial aid to applicants because of drug convictions, even though few of them have laws on the books directing them to do so. Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez of Maryland offered legislation in the state's 2006 session to address that situation, and efforts underway in states around the country to take on the issue at that level.
Speakers appearing in this photo include Rep. Bobby Rush (at the podium), with Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Robert Andrews, drug provision victim Caton Volk, Jo'ie Taylor of the United States Student Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy national director Shawn Heller and Legal Action Center representative Jennifer Collier.