Mother’s Day Launch of New National Campaign: Moms United to End War on Drugs

Press Release April 27, 2011
Media Contact

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Burns Bergman 619-884-3561</p>

Moms from around the country are using Mother's Day to announce the national launch of a new campaign whose mission is to help end the disastrous drug war. Moms United to End the War on Drugs hopes to play a similar role as moms in the 1930's who led the successful fight to end Alcohol Prohibition.

Many of the moms leading this campaign have been personally impacted by the war on drugs, including having family who suffer from addiction, have been repeatedly incarcerated, or have died from preventable drug overdoses.

"My two sons have addictive illness, so our family has experienced not only the devastation of this life-threatening disease, but also the destruction of punitive policies and incarceration," said Gretchen Burns Bergman, a co-founder of Moms United to End the War on Drugs. "My older son spent a decade of his young life cycling through the criminal justice system for non-violent drug offenses and relapse. This was a tragic waste of human potential, a painful journey for the family, and a tremendous cost to the state. Mothers must speak out to change laws and to end the drug war that has been so damaging to our families and to the future of our children."

The Moms United campaign mission is to "end the violence, mass incarceration and overdose deaths that are a result of current punitive and discriminatory drug policies. We are building a movement to stop the stigmatization and criminalization of people who use drugs or who are addicted to drugs. We are urgently calling for health-oriented strategies and widespread drug policy reform in order to stop the irresponsible waste of dollars and resources, and the devastating loss of lives and liberty."

"My son was killed with a friend in a random crime committed by two juveniles involved in gang activity and illegal drug use. We all want safer communities, but the drug war has not made our communities safer, helped people with addiction, or saved lives," said Joy Strickland, CEO of Mothers Against Teen Violence. "The drug war has led to mass incarceration, gang violence, and an overdose epidemic. I am delighted to be part of a campaign focused on healing and ending forty years of a failed policy."

Moms United to End the War on Drugs will organize activities around the country over the next several months, including commemorations of the 40th Anniversary of President Nixon declaring the "War on Drugs" on June 17 and International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31.

Leaders of the Moms United campaign from around the country include Gretchen Burns Bergman (San Diego, CA), the mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction and repeated incarceration; Denise Cullen (Palm Desert, CA), a social worker specializing in grief counseling, whose son died from an overdose two years ago; Kathie Kane-Willis (Chicago, IL), a researcher and professor, mother of a 13 year old daughter, founder of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University and a former heroin user; Joyce Rivera (New York, NY) who founded St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction in the Bronx and is the sister of an injection drug user who died of HIV/AIDS and Joy Strickland (Dallas, Texas) , CEO of Mothers Against Teen Violence, who son was killed by drug prohibition related violence.

Moms United to End the War on Drugs is a project of San Diego-based A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing), a 12-year old nonprofit organization that works to reduce the stigma associated with addictive illness through education and compassionate support, and to advocate for therapeutic rather than punitive drug policies.

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

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