Press release: March for the Alternative (March 26th, 2011)

Activists from the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network marched on the 26th of March as part of as mass demonstration called by the TUC. Re:Vision Drug Policy Network is a young person-led organisation that campaigns for an effective drug policy based on harm reduction.

The protesters took part in the 500,000 strong demonstration with a banner that said “Cutting drugs (user services) isn”t cool”. The protest was to raise awareness of the effect that the recent cuts announced by the coalition government will have on drug user services and service provision. The Release helpline, which has provided legal advice and support to drug users for several decades, recently had its government funding removed and faces potential closure.

“With £9million being cut from drug and alcohol services this year, drug users may not be able to get the help they need, which will result in a rise in hospital admissions and drug-related crime” said campaigner Sarah McCulloch. “I”m marching today because the government needs to remember that the cuts are affecting real human beings who are struggling to survive.”

Addaction reports that funding for some young people”s projects is down by as much as 50%. These projects educate young people about drugs and give them the information they need to resist peer pressure and make informed decisions. Local drug and alcohol treatment services are dependant on funding from local councils, which will not prioritise drug users – Coventry and Warwickshire have already cut their drug user services funding by 25%, even though there is a strong link between heroin use and acquisitive crime.

The Re:Vision Drug Policy Network is a national network of young people speaking out to create the belief that a drug policy based on the ideas of human welfare and human rights is both possible and necessary. We are seeking to empower all young people aged 16-25 to campaign for effective drug policies, control and regulation, and harm reduction methods. The Drug War is fought in the name of youth, so it is essential that we as young people argue for an end to punitive, harmful drug laws.

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Editor”s notes

  1. Email: info@revisiondrugs.org
  2. Hi-quality photos are available from our Flickr account here: http://bit.ly/fzDmMa
  3. Statistics from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/30/cuts-drugs-and-alcoholhttp://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/2010/10/18/coventry-drug-service-cuts-will-send-crime-soaring-warns-mp-92746-27493733/

Press Release: Racism and the Police (March 9th, 2011)

Students from the University of Manchester held a flashmob-style protest against racism in the criminal justice system on March 9th. The students are part of the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network, a new organisation that hopes to change the public”s views on drug law.

The protesters held up banners outside Green Heyes Police station in Moss-side and also outside Manchester Crown Court. They handed out leaflets to passers-by explaining that black people suffer institutional discrimination both on the streets and in the docks. Ethnic minorities are more likely to be imprisoned for drug offences than white people, even though it has been shown they have comparable or lower rates of drug use.

“People in the police and judicial systems might not intend to be racist but the overall effect is that people who aren”t white get a raw deal,” said campaigner Andi Sidwell. “This is not what justice looks like.”

The UK”s criminal justice system arrests and imprisons non-white people more than white people, with black people 6 times more likely to be arrested than white people for drug offences and 11 times more likely to be imprisoned. There is no evidence that black people use or deal drugs more than white people. [3]

The Re:Vision Drug Policy Network is a newly formed national network of young people speaking out to create the belief that a drug policy based on the ideas of human welfare and human rights is both possible and necessary. We started up in March 2011 and are based in Manchester. We are seeking to empower all young people aged 16-25 to campaign for effective drug policies, control and regulation, and harm reduction methods. The Drug War is fought in the name of youth, so it is essential that we as young people argue for an end to punitive, harmful drug laws.

Ends

Editor”s notes

  1. Hi-quality photos are available from our Flickr account here: http://bit.ly/fzDmMa
  2. Statistics come from Alex Stevens” book “Drugs, Crime and Public Health”.