Thursday, August 04, 2011

US National Association for the Advancement of Colored People calls for end to war on drugs

The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, (the oldest and largest civil rights organisation in the US) has joined the list of prominent organisations and individuals calling for a major paradigm shift away from the failed and punitive "war on drugs" and toward a health-based approach, with a resolution passed last week at the organization's national conference in Los Angeles (see the full press release below).

Neill Franklin, an African American former narcotics cop from Baltimore and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, who presented on the need to end the "war on drugs" at the NAACP conference, said about the resolution:

"The NAACP has been on the forefront of the struggle for civil rights and social justice in this country for over a century. The fact that these leaders are joining others like the National Black Police Association in calling for an end to the 'war on drugs' should be a wake up call to those politicians - including and especially President Obama - who still have not come to terms with the devastation that the 'drug war' causes in our society and especially in communities of color."
This is a video of Neill's address to the conference:

Given that the discriminatory application of the drug laws applies throughout the world, Transform looks forward to black and ethnic minority groups in the UK and beyond calling for reform.

A televised broadcast of President Obama repeating his opposition to what he called "decriminalisation" can be seen here. In it he says: “Just to make sure that I’m actually answering your question, am I willing to pursue a decriminalization strategy as an approach? No.”


President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous: Major step towards equity, justice, effective law enforcement

Contact: Ben Wrobel

(917) 846-0658

(Los Angeles, CA) – Today the NAACP passed a historic resolution calling for an end to the war on drugs. The resolution was voted on by a majority of delegates at the 102nd NAACP Annual Convention in Los Angeles, CA. The overall message of the resolution is captured by its title: A Call to End the War on Drugs, Allocate Funding to Investigate Substance Abuse Treatment, Education, and Opportunities in Communities of Color for A Better Tomorrow. 

“Today the NAACP has taken a major step towards equity, justice and effective law enforcement,” stated Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. “These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.”

The resolution outlines the facts about the failed drug war, highlighting that the U.S. spends over $40 billion annually on the war on drugs, locking up low-level drug offenders – mostly from communities of color. African Americans are in fact 13 times more likely to go to jail for the same drug-related offense than their white counterparts.

“Studies show that all racial groups abuse drugs at similar rates, but the numbers also show that African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are stopped, searched, arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison for drug-related charges at a much higher rate,” stated Alice Huffman, President of the California State Conference of the NAACP. “This dual system of drug law enforcement that serves to keep African-Americans and other minorities under lock and key and in prison must be exposed and eradicated.

”Instead of sending drug offenders to prison, the resolution calls for the creation and expansion of rehabilitation and treatment programs, methadone clinics, and other treatment protocols that have been proven effective.

“We know that the war on drugs has been a complete failure because in the forty years that we’ve been waging this war, drug use and abuse has not gone down,”
stated Robert Rooks, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program. “The only thing we’ve accomplished is becoming the world’s largest incarcerator, sending people with mental health and addiction issues to prison, and creating a system of racial disparities that rivals Jim Crow policies of the 1960s.”

Once ratified by the board of directors in October, the resolution will encourage the more than 1200 active NAACP units across the country to organize campaigns to advocate for the end of the war on drugs. 

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.


Anonymous said...

Could an e-petition be used to force the government/MPs to debate the effectiveness of drugs laws and whether an alternative should be considered and if so, would it do any good.

I'm thinking that the Westminster village vermin might use the opportunity to all posture on who could be the 'toughest' prohibitionist and who's policies would lead to the highest number of people locked up and then, delay the processes of legalisation/regulation as they box themselves in with their words.

What does Transform think

Steve Rolles said...

personally - I'm not convinced it would do much good - and could be counterproductive if it becomes a venue for get tough drug war showboating. Politicians have their preprepared positions whihc they would just wheel out.

I think there are one or more cannabis legalisation efforts already underway.

getting authoritative indivudals or organisations - like the NAACP - is liley to have much more impact. Politicians have shown they wont actually lead on this issue (not the ones in government anyway) so its really about moving the public and other opinion formers, to create a climate more conducive to rational debate.

I think the epetitions thing is a bit of gimmick - although im keen to be proved wrong.

Anonymous said...

That was have I feared, that it could to more harm than good as they all compete over who could act the toughest and then their previous posturing ends up boxing them in when the public mood had shifted.

The real crux of the matter is though is that MPs are scum. They're utter filth.

Politics as we have it means that the worst sort of people can rise to the top as the real scum of our society are the only people with the desire to do so and the willingness to lie or do whatever else it takes to get there.

Steve Rolles said...

theyre not all bad - but there is certainly a phenomenon that sees them retreat from reason into populism as they get nearer to power. Cameron on drugs beinga good example.

Me said...

Cameron on drugs is a prefect example of it being the scum, not the cream, that rises to the top in Westminster. They pretty much are all that bad.

That lot would sell any principle for a few votes and there is NOTHING that they would not do in exchange for the support of the Murdoch press. They kissed Murdoch's arse, all of them.

Rory said...

I dont think it is productive to call people names, just because they disagree with us.

The drug Policy Reform movemnet is full of reasonable people.
We should be encouraging our politicians to change their public positions - not solidify them, by name calling.

Anonymous said...

Why? Politicians and their backers in the right-wing press call people names all the time. They appeal to hate and prejudice. They always have some group to attack and scapegoat, it can be asylum seekers, the unemployed, immigrants, gay people, etc... Not just drug users.

But on the topic of drug users, my Labour MP actually told me during a face to face meeting that one of the main reasons she didn't support heroin prescription was because if addicts were treated like sick people instead of criminals it would remove much of the social stigma associated with being a drug addict.

They're liars and scum, all of them. I think politicians are unprincipled corrupt dirt. Sorry, that's just the way I feel.

Unknown said...

What is important when listening to any gov official is to forget the insult, don't get incensed, and analyze what they are saying to see if they are breaking the law.

When I was listening to the government ministers on the National Broadcaster CBC in March 2005 I was able to catch the government committing an organized hate crime as well as breaking the broadcasting act. CRTC gave me standing File number 233039. They were trying to blame the murders of the four mounties on pot growers and by implication pot smokers. Perhaps the reason I was the only one to take action in a nation of 35 was because I was smoking a joint at the time.
Utube video Mayerthorpe_hate_crime.avi