Activists from the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network picketed and marched at cities and towns across the country today in support of local strikers. Re:Vision Drug Policy Network is a young person-led organisation that campaigns for an effective drug policy based on harm reduction.
The protesters supported the 750,000 strong strike with banners and posters declaring “Don”t cut drug services, pay and pensions. The strike has been called by several unions in disputes over recently announced changes to the public pension system by the coalition government. Over 100,000 teachers could stay at home and force thousands of schools to close for the day.
“Young people will not benefit from the loss of their teachers, not today, but in the future as tougher working conditions and decreased pay and benefits drive many out of the profession” said campaigner Elizabeth Cabeza, who protested in London today. “I”m supporting the strike action today as a young person and as a drug law reformer because if the government cuts education and health services, drug treatment and drug education will be the first to go”.
Sarah McCulloch, protesting today from her hometown of Chelmsford, said, “I went to school here. The government spends £13billion a year on a ineffective, pointless war on drugs. Then it says it can”t afford to support my teachers properly. It”s very important that as drug policy activists we make sure people know these cuts are ideological and that we support the people who are at the thin end of the wedge.”
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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- 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/