Art Auction Raises more than $125,000 for the Drug Policy Alliance

Press Release September 8, 2008
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Tony Papa at 646-420-7290 or Tony Newman at 646-335-5384

NEW YORK–The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) raised more than $125,000 during re:FORM, an art auction and cocktail party benefit at Cheim & Read gallery in New York last week.

The event represented the second installment in a groundbreaking partnership between the art world and the drug policy reform movement, following the first successful event in 2005.

The re:FORM art auction benefited DPA, the nation’s leading organization promoting alternatives to the drug war that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. More than 200 supporters, including philanthropist George Soros, Jason Flom, chairman and CEO of Capitol Music Group, and Dr. Mathilde Krim, founding chair of amfAR and an auction honoree, attended. See photos here.

In addition to Dr. Krim, DPA honored two other dear friends of the organization: artists Donald Baechler and Fred Tomaselli. The event co-chairs were John Cheim, James Cohan, Flom, Howard Read and George Soros. Darren Aronofsky, Alba Clemente, Walter Cronkite, Peter Lewis and Russell Simmons all served as honorary co-chairs.

“Many, many thanks go out to our honorees, everyone who attended, and especially our event co-chair, George Soros. We want to express our gratitude to those who placed bids and bought art, and, of course, special thanks to the artists who donated their work,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “DPA is honored to have such friends–the creators of such powerful visions– who share our understanding that the drug war is deeply, irreversibly flawed. It is indeed moving to know that they share our vision of a future where, absent harm to others, no one is punished simply for what they put into their bodies.”

Few public policies have undermined fundamental civil rights and liberties, social justice and public health for so long and to such an extent as the drug war. The U.S. now has the highest incarceration rate in the world–one adult American out of every 100 is currently behind bars. The United States makes up less than five percent of the world’s population but holds close to 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population. More than half a million people are behind bars tonight for nothing more than a nonviolent drug law violation. More than 700,000 Americans were arrested last year for simple marijuana possession alone. The drug war even targets sick and dying Americans, thousands of whom are regularly denied access to medical marijuana, a medication with proven medical benefits for the treatment of a wide range of serious illnesses and conditions. “For more information, please see”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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