U.S. Delegation Against the Drug War to Attend World Conference Against Racism in South Africa, August 28 – September 7

Press Release August 7, 2001
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-548-6916

The Campaign to End Race Discrimination in the War on Drugs, an ad-hoc coalition of drug policy reform advocates, is calling for an end to the apartheid-like American criminal justice system fueled by the war on drugs. They hope to make the drug war one of the more prominent issues addressed in Durban, South Africa during the upcoming World Conference Against Racism.

The coalition, which consists of human rights activists, treatment service providers, and drug policy experts, will encourage the thousands of conference participants to examine the racism inherent in the enforcement of U.S. drug policy.

While rates of drug use are roughly equal across race, for example, African-American men are imprisoned for drug offenses at 13 times the rate of white men. In addition, almost half of those arrested for marijuana offenses are Latino.

“The drug war is one of the most serious obstacles to achieving racial justice both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Deborah Small, Public Policy Director at The Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation (Lindesmith – DPF), the nation’s leading organization promoting drug policies based on science, public health, common sense and human rights. In an effort to put pressure on American policymakers, the Campaign will release a sign-on letter addressed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calling on leaders in the African diaspora and the international community at large to voice their opposition to the racist pursuit of the U.S. led war on drugs.

Individual interviews with the delegates and background information on the drug war are available upon request. Delegates’ biographies follow.

Campaign to End Race Discrimination in the War on Drugs

WCAR Delegate Biographies

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

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