Since this week's feature about the U.S. drug war came out, some readers have written asking variations on this question:
What would you say to do if you are pissed off and want to give money toward real change and not just to people who want to open medical marijuana places, etc.? Feeling sick about it all but know that won't do anything.
I know that the ACLU, People's Harm Reduction Alliance (an independent needle exchange in the U-District that's also doing crack outreach, which public-health agencies are afraid to touch), and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (a collection of cops and ex-cops who advocate for drug-law reform) are doing good work.
And I wrote to Alison Holcomb of the ACLU for more suggestions.
Yes, the ACLU of Washington is doing drug policy reform work outside of marijuana legalization.
Readers can learn more about our work here. One example of our non-marijuana-related work is our recently successful effort to make Washington the second state in the nation to have a "911 Good Samaritan" law. Currently, we're collaborating with the Racial Disparity Project of The [King County] Defender Association to launch pre-booking diversion pilot projects in Belltown and Skyway.
We see the testing and evaluation of pre-booking diversion of low-level drug offenders as a viable next step toward full decriminalization of drug use and a shift of resources away from failed supply-side strategies (prohibition, e.g.) toward promising demand-reduction, public health strategies like treatment, prevention, and investment in our communities most vulnerable to developing maladaptive substance use disorders.
Information about the national ACLU's drug policy work is available here.
People interested in supporting the ACLU can find out how to do so here.
You know PHRA and LEAP. The Drug Policy Alliance is the biggest U.S. organization doing drug policy reform work. There is also the Harm Reduction Coalition, which organizes the biennial Harm Reduction Conference that just happened in Austin.
I hope this is helpful.