Eugene Jarecki to Receive Award at International Drug Policy Reform Conference for Powerful Film, The House I Live In

Press Release November 11, 2015
Media Contact

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<p>Tony Newman (646) 335-5384<br />
Tommy McDonald (510) 338-8827</p>

Author and documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki will be presented with the Edward M. Brecher Award for Achievement in the Field of Media at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference on November 21, 2015 in Arlington, VA. Jarecki is the acclaimed documentarian behind Why We Fight, Reagan, and The Trials of Henry Kissinger, among many others – and he is receiving the Brecher award for the incredible impact of his film, The House I Live In.

Jarecki’s film has done wonders in advancing public understanding of the devastating impact of the drug war and mass incarceration in the U.S.  It generated enormous buzz from the moment it won the Sundance Film festival award for Best Documentary.  Eugene then used his film to build our movement by organizing hundreds of showings across the country, in churches, schools, community centers, and prisons.   To date, The House I Live In has been been screened at 159 prisons across America, with system-wide approval in several states including New Mexico, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Louisiana.

Eugene brought in celebrities to co-produce the film like Brad Pitt, John Legend, Russell Simmons, and Danny Glover to give it an extra bounce, culminating in Legend’s outspoken remarks about criminal justice reform at the 2015 Oscars. Jarecki’s work generated an avalanche of national media coverage reaching millions about the need to end our disastrous war on drugs.

“People across the country are having a profound debate about mass incarceration and ending the drug war, and The House I Live In has played a transformative role in propelling the conversation,” said Sharda Sekaran, Managing Director of Communications for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Eugene Jarecki wove a masterful narrative with this film that vividly shows people how the drug war hits close to home and inspires them to demand change.”

The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading organization promoting policy alternatives to the drug war, bestows the biennial Edward M. Brecher Award to those who have produced the highest quality of journalistic coverage of drug policy and other drug issues. Edward Brecher was a science writer and the author of the Consumer Union book, ''Licit and Illicit Drugs.'' A glowing and obituary on Edward Brecher was published by the editorial page of The New York Times. Previous recipients include: Talk Show Host and Medical Marijuana Patient/Advocate Montel Williams, ABC News Anchor Hugh Downs; Cartoonist Gary Trudeau; The Economist magazine; Rolling Stone magazine; William Finnegan, staff writer for The New Yorker; and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness, among other distinguished honorees.

The International Drug Policy Reform Conference, co-hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance in Arlington, VA from Nov. 18-21, 2015, brings together more than 1200 leading international experts, treatment providers, researchers, policymakers and key activists at the leading global forum on drug policy reform. For more information or to register for the conference, please visit

For complete list of award honorees, please visit:

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

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