Press Release

40th Anniversary of Nixon's Declaration of a "War on Drugs"

Thurs: Elected Officials, Celebrities and VIPs Blast Drug War and Call for Exit Strategy at Newseum Press Conference in D.C.</p>
Vermont Governor, Members of Congress, Rev. Al Sharpton*and Star of &quot;The Wire&quot; to Speak on Eve of National Day of Action</p>
Critically Acclaimed Rapper SAIGON to Release New Song &quot;No More&quot; for National Campaign Protesting &quot;War on Drugs&quot; at 40th Anniversary</p>

WASHINGTON, DC—June 17 will mark forty years since President Richard Nixon, citing drug abuse as "public enemy No. 1," officially declared a "war on drugs." A trillion dollars and millions of ruined lives later, the war on drugs has proven to be a catastrophic failure.

The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, will host a press conference on Thursday, June 16 with elected officials, celebrities and VIP's to call attention to the failures of the drug war and to propose new solutions. The press conference is intended to raise awareness about the failures of drug prohibition and call for an exit strategy from the failed war on drugs.

The press conference will also be streamed on the web and can be viewed live at:

The press conference comes on the heels of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which released a groundbreaking report on June 2 calling for a paradigm shift in how our society deals with drugs, including decriminalization and allowing countries to experiment with models of legal regulation. The commission is comprised of international dignitaries including Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group; and the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland. George P. Shultz and Paul Volcker are U.S. commissioners (see their recent Wall Street Journal op-ed below).

The press conference will set the stage for the following national day of action. Dozens of events will be held throughout the country, including major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans. The day of action will be highlighted with a large-scale event with elected officials in Washington, DC.

In Arms Reach, a non-profit organization that works with at-risk children and young adults who have incarcerated parent(s), has enlisted the rapper SAIGON to release a song in support of DPA’s “No More Drug War” campaign highlighting the 40-year anniversary of the war on drugs.

What: Press conference

Where: The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC (Knight Studio A)

When:  Thursday, June 16th, 2011.  1pm – 2pm


  • Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director, Drug Policy Alliance
  • John Conyers, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan’s 14th district
  • Jared Polis, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Colorado's 2nd district
  • Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network*
  • Peter Shumlin, Governor of Vermont
  • Sonja Sohn, actress from acclaimed HBO Series "The Wire"
  • Maxine Waters, Member of U.S. House of Representatives from California's 35th district

*Tentatively confirmed either in person or live via videoconference. List in formation.