STOP THE DRUG WAR AND ITS MISSION
Stop The Drug War is an organization that, as the name suggests, advocates an end to drug prohibition and the war on drugs. The organization was founded in 1993 as the Drug Reform Coordination Network and served as a pioneering force in popularizing the idea of using the internet to protest against the drug war.
STDW ran a number of campaigns throughout the 2000s concerned with educating the public about the drug war, its political motivations, and the devastating effect it was having on individuals and societies across the globe. It also focuses heavily on producing information that offers a different standpoint to government propaganda about drugs.
The organization’s main standpoint is that much of the harm caused by drugs is due to the fact that they are placed in a criminal environment. It believes that the global war on drugs has fueled violence, injustice, instability, and a public health crisis and that the best solution for these issues is some sort of system of legalization.
Unlike some other activist groups opposing the war on drugs, STWD isn’t solely concerned with policy reform. It also promotes the introduction of social initiatives like needle exchanges, the demilitarization of anti-drug measures in the US and around the world, and more. The primary yet non-exclusive emphasis of STWD’s campaigns is on US policy and strategy.
STOP THE DRUG WAR CAMPAIGNS
STWD ran a number of important campaigns in the late 1990s and 2000s. In 1998, the organization ran the Higher Education Act Reform (HEA) campaign which was opposed to the passing of a law that took financial funding away from students with drug convictions.
Over the coming years, the campaign managed to make a number of reforms to the law. In 2006, for example, a reform announced that the law was limited to students who offended while the student is in school and receiving federal aid. Unfortunately, some of this progress was reversed in 2010 under the Democrat health care reform.
STDW and its HEA campaign helped to launch Students for Sensible Drug Policy as an independent, international organization. Together, SSDP and STDW launched media outreach campaigns from 1999 to 2002 which reached most major national media channels across the US.
In 2001 Stop The Drug War launched a new campaign titled Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century. The campaign included a variety of conferences, and the lead event held in Merida, Mexico, drew in over 300 attendees including legislators from seven countries. At the time, this made it one of the drug reform conferences with the most extensive high-level political participation.
Today, STDW is mainly concerned with information and publication while also taking on some policy reform initiatives. Its current strategies to evoke change are:
- Publication of extensive, journalistic-level materials, mostly online, an area in which they are an acknowledged leader.
- Long-term organizing of coalitions advocating specific policy reforms for which mainstream support can be mobilized for political change in the near term.
- Grassroots activation and mobilization of drug policy reform supporters.
- Incorporating practices in all programs that support and grow the drug policy reform movement, and the many organizations that make it up.
More info on their website: www.stopthedrugwar.org