Republican and Democratic Elected Officials to Gather with Physicians, Religious Leaders, Ravers and Former Inmates to Stop Unwinnable War on Drugs

Press Release May 14, 2001
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Should college students have their financial aid taken away for marijuana? Does Ecstasy have therapeutic benefits? Is Plan Colombia the new Vietnam? As momentum builds against the war on drugs, these hot topics and more will be addressed by experts who believe the war on drugs is unwinnable, and that more sensible and humane alternatives are needed.

From Wednesday, May 30 to Saturday, June 2, elected officials will join drug policy experts, religious leaders, health and treatment professionals and concerned citizens in New Mexico for “Drug Policies for the New Millennium” – an international conference organized by The Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation. Featured speakers include New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, former New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya, Albuquerque Mayor Jim Baca, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, and other national and international leaders.

Experts are available to talk in advance about a variety of issues that will be addressed at the conference, including: treatment versus incarceration for non-violent offenders, Ecstasy, the recent Supreme Court case regarding medical marijuana, preventing heroin overdose, the emerging student movement against the drug war, gay and lesbian issues, women and the drug war, needle exchange programs and more. Background materials are also available on each of these topics.

WHAT: “Drug Policies For The New Millennium” Conference
WHEN: Wednesday, May 30 to Saturday, June 2, 2001
WHERE: Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Convention Center
HOW: Press passes available by calling Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Following the passage of drug policy reform measures in five U.S. states last November, New Mexico legislators recently considered the most comprehensive slate of drug reform measures ever seen at the state level. New drug policy laws passed in the state allow pharmacies to legally sell sterile syringes without a prescription, limit liability for the use of naloxone in reversing heroin overdose, restore voting rights upon successful completion of criminal penalties, and dramatically increase funding for effective treatment and drug education programs. These changes in New Mexico are part of a greater national trend, as more and more states enact reforms such as drug treatment rather than incarceration for drug offenders, medical use of marijuana, and increased protections against asset forfeiture abuses.

Recently the push to end the war on drugs has come to the forefront of American political discourse. According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, over 74% of Americans believe the war on drugs is a failure. The upcoming conference will address the concerns expressed by the public, highlighting the efficacy of new drug policies and exploring practical alternatives that will improve the health and safety of our families and communities.

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

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