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News Release -- from the Drug Policy Foundation

News Release -- from the Drug Policy Foundation

CONTACT: Dave Fratello or Rob Stewart

Oct. 19 through Oct. 21: (310) 576-3175



Former Surgeon General, ABA President To Speak

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16 -- Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. surgeon general, and George Bushnell Jr., the immediate-past president of the American Bar Association, are among those addressing drug policy reform this year at the Drug Policy Foundation's annual conference.

The Ninth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform, DPF's first west coast meeting, will address a range of reform ideas, including, but not limited to, public health models, decriminalization, legalization, and the broad-based philosophy of harm reduction. Topics will span legal, medical and general policy issues, such as civil asset forfeiture, needle exchange, policies that prevent AIDS and other patients' access to marijuana, drug education, and California initiatives.

What: 9th International Conference on Drug Policy Reform

When: Thursday, October 19, 1995, to Saturday, October 21, 1995

Where: Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
1700 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA; phone: (310) 458-6700

Special events include:

George Bushnell will help open the conference on Thursday, October 19, by discussing his views on drug policy reform and the law. Before beginning his one-year term as president of the American Bar Association in 1994, Bushnell attracted national attention by declaring that drug prohibition should be ended for the same reasons that alcohol Prohibition was ended in 1933.

Dr. Ambros Uchtenhagen of the University of Zurich will speak Thursday afternoon about the three-year Swiss heroin maintenance experiment, which he directs and which U.S. officials have so far ignored. The maintenance program is an attempt to stabilize addicts' lives and their habits. Dr. Uchtenhagen will provide a detailed description of the experiment and outline the lessons for U.S. drug policies.

As surgeon general, Dr. Elders sparked a national controversy and brought official censure upon herself by simply suggesting that drug legalization might be worth studying as a means of reducing drug-trade-related crime. Dr. Elders will hold a press conference Friday morning before delivering her keynote address at that day's luncheon. After the speech, DPF will give her its top award for her work in promoting public health measures and for her courage in advocating a more open debate on drug policy reform.

A morning plenary session on Saturday, October 21, will look at the war on lawyers who have become the subjects of overzealous drug prosecutions. San Francisco trial attorney Patrick Hallinan will discuss his recent acquittal on questionable drug conspiracy charges, which were brought by a U.S. attorney in Reno and a convicted drug offender whom Hallinan had represented.

The conference concludes Saturday evening at the foundation's annual awards banquet. The banquet marks the eighth year that DPF has honored outstanding reformers. The 1995 awardees are:

Joycelyn Elders, M.D.*
former U.S. Surgeon General
for Outstanding Achievement in Drug Policy Reform

Catherine Crier
ABC News
for Achievement in Journalism

Patrick Hallinan, Esq.
for Achievement in Law

Dan Waldorf, Ph.D.
Institute for Scientific Research
for Achievement in Scholarship

Dennis Peron
Cannabis Buyers' Club, San Francisco
Edith Springer
New York PEER AIDS Education Network
for Achievement in Citizen Action

Rob H. Hessing
Police Chief of Rotterdam, Netherlands
for Achievement in Law Enforcement and Control

Ernest Drucker, Ph.D.
Montefiore Medical Center, New York City
for Achievement in Medicine and Treatment

For more information, call Dave Fratello or Rob Stewart at the DPF press office within Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel at (310) 576-3175 from Wednesday, Oct. 18, through Saturday, Oct. 21. After Oct. 23, call (202) 537-5005.

* Dr. Elders' award will be presented during Friday's luncheon.

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