1. DRCNet In and Around the News
DRCNet's visibility has been increasing in recent weeks. A week ago Friday, 2/9, DRCNet Director David Borden (myself) was quoted on the Pacifica Network News, commenting on the new Drug Czar nominee, General Barry McCaffrey, and the failure of interdiction and source country efforts in reducing the availability of drugs. In yesterday's (Sunday, 2/18) New York Times, Borden had a letter to the editor, entitled "Cocaine Use Soared Despite Prohibition," in reply to former Drug Czar William Bennett's letter of two days before. This publicity comes just a few weeks after a flood of e-mail from the DRCNet rapid-response-team help persuade NBC Nightly News to call off the unfavorable medical marijuana segment they had advertised. We hope that DRCNet will continue to be in and around the news in these and other ways.
As is to be expected, the Times printed a slightly shortened version of the letter than had been submitted; they also changed the paragraph breaks. Here is the original version:
In "No to Legalization," (NYT Letters to the Editor, 2/15/96), former US Drug Czar William Bennett writes "If drugs were legalized, use would soar." Bennett proceeds to describe the rapid popularization of crack cocaine in America's inner cities during the 1980s.
But the crack epidemic occurred, in its entirety, under the most aggressively enforced *prohibition* in the history of the world. What does this have to do with legalization?
And why do prohibition's brightest advocates continually use such glaring illogic in making their case?
2. Online Drug Policy Events
NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre will debate former US Drug Czar Lee Brown live on America On-Line this Monday evening (2/19 -- TONIGHT) at 9 pm. The debate, sponsored by USA Today Weekend, can be accessed on America On-Line by entering either of the following key words: "Center Stage" or "USA Today."
Dawn Day, Director of the Dogwood Center, and a member of DRCNet's advisory board, will discuss her recent paper, "Health Emergency: The Spread of Drug-Related AIDS Among African Americans and Latinos", on the ACLU America On-Line forum, Saturday 2/19, at 8:00 pm (enter key word "ACLU"). Whether or not you have an AOL account, you can read her paper on the web at http://www.drcnet.org/emergency. This and other needle exchange research can be found at http://www.drcnet.org/AIDS/needle-exchange. This site will get updated as information becomes available, and it will include a full transcript of the AOL forum.
3. Regional Sublist Update
We have not yet set up most of the regional sublists. However, there is an important action alert for Massachusetts residents, that will be distributed this week, possibly today. If you are interested in Massachusetts- focused information, and have not yet signed up for DRCNet's regional sublist, DRC-NE, please take a moment right now to do so. You can sign up for DRC-NE by sending e-mail to [email protected], with the line "subscribe drc-ne firstname lastname" in the message. (If you are not yet on any DRCNet mailing lists, please send e-mail to [email protected] for further information.)
4. CNN Presents
The Cable News Network (CNN) aired a special last 2/13, entitled "Higher Times," which did an excellent job of exposing some of the excesses of marijuana prohibition. DRCNet helped producer Ted Rubenstein get in contact with some of our colleagues who specialize in providing the kind of information that we needed for the show. Videotapes and transcripts of Higher Times can be ordered from Journal Graphics, (800) 825-5746. Tapes are $34.95 and transcripts are $12.
We would like to be able to provide our subscribers with complete listings of all upcoming drug policy media events, but at current staffing levels (one person) are not always able to do so.
5. DRCNet Needs Your Support
Our funding from the Drug Policy Foundation has been renewed, until the end of June, allowing us to continue operating full-time. Our budget, however, requires us to raise a substantial amount of revenue from member contributions. We also really need additional staffing; but current funding only covers the one existing position. And, we are hoping to do some mass mailings in the near future to increase our paying membership base; but these mailings will themselves cost quite a bit. In short, we need your support to be able to continue this service at a high level and progress with our other work.
If all of the current 800 e-mail subscribers sent us the voluntary $10 yearly "virtual member" contribution, it would add up to $8000! This would not, by itself, pay for a second full-time position, but it would be a big chunk of it, and it would strengthen our applications to potential large funders. If you have not already contributed to DRCNet, I hope you will consider doing so. A registration form is attached; you can also print one out from our web site at http://www.drcnet.org, in the "About DRCNet" section.
Finally, another way you can support DRCNet -- and actually save money in the process -- is by signing up for the DRCNet/Affinity long-distance service. Affinity will guarantee you 10% or more off of your current carrier's rates (5 to 20% for businesses), and will contribute 5% of your payments to DRCNet. (Affinity will follow any rate changes that your current carrier makes, whether they are upward or downward.) To switch to Affinity, or to find out more about them, call (800) 670-0008, and give them DRCNet's tracking codes: 611124-000, 655-000080. Tell your friends, too!
6. DRCNet Registration Form
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