Drug Policy Alliance Honors ‘Heroes of Drug Policy Reform’ at 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference

Press Release November 27, 2007
Media Contact

Tony Newman at (646)335-5384 or Tommy McDonald at (646)335-2242

Leading advocates who have worked courageously to promote and implement more sensible drug policies will be honored at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in New Orleans, December 5-8. The conference is organized by the Drug Policy Alliance and dozens of other organizations. The Drug Policy Alliance is the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs and promote new drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights. The winners will be honored during an awards ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 8.

“What I can say about each and every one of these awardees is that they are speaking truth to power, and fighting for freedom and justice in arenas where it still takes guts and courage to do what they do,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “I can only hope that they inspire countless others today and for generations to come.”

Below are the awards recipients:

Rev. Howard R. Moody is the winner of the Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform. This award is given to the individuals who most epitomize loyal opposition to drug war extremism.

Moody was Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village from 1956-1992. Under Mr. Moody’s leadership the church has been at the forefront of issues such as the humane treatment of drug addicts, prostitutes and the rights of women to choose childbearing. The church worked toward decriminalizing laws which prohibit IV drug users from obtaining clean needles. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Moody has been the motivating force behind the creation Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy, a national mobilization of clergy for drug law reform.

Alan Bock and AlterNet are the winners of the Edward M. Brecher Award for Achievement in the Field of Journalism. This award honors those in the media who question official drug war propaganda.

Bock has been a member of the Orange County Register’s opinion and commentary staff since 1980. He currently is a senior editorial writer, blogger for “Orange Punch” and chief blogger for “Eye on the Empire.” Bock hammers away at the failed drug war with dozens of insightful and consciousness-raising columns on a rage of issues from medical marijuana, the need for treatment over incarceration and the failures of drug prohibition. Bock is also the author of Waiting to Inhale: The Politics of Medical Marijuana. Before joining the Orange County Register, Alan was executive director, Libertarian Advocate, in Washington, DC; a Washington correspondent for Reason magazine; a press aide to Rep. Earl Ruth (R-N.C.) and Rep. Robert Bauman (R-Md.), and editor of Prospect House. Alan is the author of four books and he has written magazine articles for Reason, Freeman, National Review, Harvard Business Review, Liberty, National Educator, Chronicles of Culture, and others. He is a media fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Independent Institute.

AlterNet is an award-winning news magazine and online community that creates original journalism and amplifies the best of dozens of other independent media sources. It aims to inspire citizen action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, and health care issues. Since its inception in 1998 as a project of the Independent Media Institute, AlterNet has grown steadily in response to increased public demand for independent news. It is now one of the most trafficked political news magazine sites on the web, receiving about 1.7 million visitors each month. AlterNet has been educating its readers about the inhumane drug war for years. They were ahead of the curve and created a special section of coverage, the “Drug Reporter,” which has published hundreds of stories on the drug war. Leading thinkers and activists, including many who will attend the conference, have published their work on the “Drug Reporter.” Accepting the award on behalf of AlterNet is their executive director, Don Hazen. Hazen is the former publisher of Mother Jones magazine and has edited several books, including, most recently: Start Making Sense: Turning the Lessons of Election 2004 into Winning Progressive Politics.

Harry Levine is the winner of the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship. This award recognizes scholars, like Alfred Lindesmith, whose personal courage and quality of published research constitute a source of rational inspiration for all who labor in drug policy scholarship.

Levine is a professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has written frequently about alcohol, drugs and occasionally food, often with Craig Reinarman, including their book Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice. In recent years he has written about alcohol prohibition, world-wide drug prohibition, and marijuana policies. His current research focuses on why in the last ten years New York City has arrested more people for possessing marijuana than any city in the world.

Cliff Thornton is the Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action award winner. This award honors citizens who make democracy work in the difficult area of drug law and policy reform.

Thornton is the primary speaker for Efficacy, Inc., a non-profit organization that concentrates on drug policy reform. Thornton ran for governor in Connecticut in 2006 on the Green Party ticket. His campaign centered on drug policy reform. Thornton has done more than 400 radio shows on drug policy. Efficacy is partially responsible for the removal of DARE from the Ocean City, NJ school system in 2001. Thornton taught a graduate-level course, “Illegal Drugs and Public Policy” at Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 2002.

Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch is the recipient of the Norman E. Zinberg Award for Achievement in the Field of Medicine. This award recognizes medical and treatment experts who perform rigorous scientific research and who have the courage to report their findings even though they may be at odds with the current dogma.

Malinowska-Sempruch is the director of the International Harm Reduction Development program (IHRD) at the Open Society Institute (OSI). Based in New York, IHRD has pioneered technical and financial support for more than 200 harm reduction projects across 23 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. IHRD focuses on policy advocacy around issues critical to the health and human rights of drug users, including the reform of repressive drug policies that inadvertently fuel the spread of HIV, the availability of treatment, and the expansion of harm reduction services.

Norman Stamper is the H.B. Spear Award for Achievement in the Field of Control and Enforcement recipient. This award is given to those involved in law enforcement who have demonstrated a balanced regard for the needs of enforcement and human compassion.

Stamper was a police officer for 34 years, the last six (1994-2000) as Seattle’s chief of police. He is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Expos

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

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