For the first time in a long time, we feel the momentum on drug policy shifting in our favor. The political climate is rapidly changing - at the state and local level as well as nationally. The current dialogue on drugs and drug misuse, prevention and enforcement is becoming more sophisticated. The public has grown skeptical of the drug war and politicians are figuring out that "tough on drugs" rhetoric is not a real solution. The Drug Policy Alliance and the growing movement in which we play a leadership role are fast maturing. The many accomplishments detailed in this report certainly point to a shift in tone and tenor.
The biggest possibility for change is in California, where voters will have an opportunity in November to enact the biggest prison and sentencing reform in U.S. history. DPA put years of insight and research into drafting this initiative -the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act or Proposition 5.
Ira Glasser President
Drug Policy Alliance
Ethan Nadelmann Executive Director Drug Policy Alliance
If we win, the new law will provide a national model for a public health approach to substance abuse and addiction. But California isn't the only place where reforms are afoot. As you'll see, we've been busy in Congress and in our other target states - Alabama, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York - and in the District of Columbia.
New additions to our U.S. Honorary Board also reflect this trend of sane and sensible drug policies entering the political mainstream. One of our newest members, George P. Shultz, served as both U.S. secretary of state and secretary of the treasury in two Republican administrations. He's now been joined by Russell Simmons, the hip hop impresario, who played an important role in advancing Rockefeller Drug Law reform efforts a few years ago.
We're also in the process of creating an International Honorary Board as we re-engage on international drug control issues. We are proud to tell you that the first two members are Vaclav Havel, the famous writer, political dissident and former president of the Czech Republic; and Ruth Dreifuss, who played a pivotal role in advancing drug law reform in Switzerland during her presidency of the Swiss Federal Council.
We know that ours is destined to be a multi-generational struggle, just like most other movements that advance individual freedom and social justice. But we feel more energized and optimistic right now than we have in years. As we move into a new phase of our work, one that builds on many of our major state and federal wins, we take pride in the fact that DPA is a stronger organization now than at any time in our history.
We hope you enjoy learning about our work over the last year; please don't hesitate to call or email our staff to discuss any of the report's contents.
Many thanks for your continued support.
Today one in 100 adult Americans is behind bars. DPA is confronting excessive incarceration directly on several key fronts: in California, through a major ballot initiative; nationally, via a campaign to overturn federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines; in Connecticut and New Jersey, with legislation and groundbreaking reports; and in New York, where innovative work is moving the state toward a public health approach to drug policy. As the prison and sentencing reform movement gains momentum, DPA is taking full advantage of shifting public and policymaker attitudes.
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