Global Exchange has established a partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the nation’s leading organization promoting alternatives to the drug war that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. DPA works to advance policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition. DPA works nationally to change U.S. laws and practices to ensure that our nation’s drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions – particularly young people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the drug war.
This year, leaders of Mexico’s peace movement will be headliners at the DPA sponsored International Drug Policy Reform Conference held from November 2-5, 2011 at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles, CA. Javier Sicilia and others, including John Gibler, author of To Die in Mexico, will present at the “Spotlight Session” on “The Bi-National Movement to End the Drug War in Mexico”. The panel will address how the drug war leads to the criminalization and incarceration of hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. every year, creating extraordinary obstacles that often prevent full participation in community and civic life – for instance, gaining employment can often be nearly impossible when employers won’t hire people with criminal records. The Conference website states: “This important discussion will provide conference participants with tools to fight discrimination based on arrest or conviction records. Speakers will highlight numerous successful campaigns, led by formerly incarcerated people, which suggest new strategies and possibilities for removing barriers to employment, housing, and other vital components of community life.”
This biennial event brings together over 1,000 attendees, from more than 30 different countries, who believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. This year’s co-hosts include the Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC), the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Open Society Foundations (OSF), and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).
DPA is actively involved in the legislative process and seeks to roll back the excesses of the drug war, block new, harmful initiatives, and promote sensible drug policy reforms. As a result of our work, hundreds of thousands of people have been diverted from incarceration to drug treatment programs, hundreds of thousands of sick and dying patients can safely access their medicine without being considered criminals under the law, and states like California have saved more than $2.5 billion by eliminating wasteful and ineffective law enforcement, prosecution and prison expenditures.