Things You Can Do
Have you ever wondered how you could help bring sanity to drug policy? Here are some things you can do, using a great list of questions as a starting point.
Letters to Editors (LTE)
Select one of these questions as the basis for an LTE to your local newspaper. If you are a typical American, thousands of your personal tax dollars are dedicated to State and Federal drug prohibition efforts. Demand evidence that your money is being spent wisely and that someone, somewhere, has considered the alternatives.
Town Hall Meetings
Personalize these questions for distribution at meetings held by elected representatives. If Senator Foghorn holds a public meeting with constituents, change the heading to “Questions Senator Foghorn Avoids,” make a lot of copies, get there early, stand outside the meeting hall and give one to everyone who arrives. Feel free to add questions of your own, especially if you have one like, “Senator Foghorn, you voted for the 1999 budget that included about 18 billion dollars for drug prohibition. What evidence do you have that this was a good investment of my taxes?” Print the questions on brightly colored paper so Sen. Foghorn will see them all over the place. Make sure the Senator and reporters get a copy, and be prepared to be interviewed on camera.
Whenever a VIP politician comes to town you can be sure there will be a press conference. Call a local radio station or newspaper to find out where and when it will be held. Get there early and hand out questions, just like described above.
Post copies of these questions on bulletin boards, at work, or wherever you can. We also have some great posters that you would be proud to put on any bulletin board. Come by our office or attend a monthly meeting to see examples.
Present them one at a time for discussion at schools, church functions, or anywhere you can get a group of people to talk about one of society's biggest problems. Use a non-aggressive approach like, “I got this question recently, and I don’t know how to answer. What do you recommend?”
Call in one or more of these questions for radio or TV talk shows. Hosts love a heated controversy, and you might start a good one, precipitating a lot of phone calls.
All large newspapers have columnists who are looking for material to write about. Send them one or two selected questions and ask for their personal opinions. They just might write a column about it, and you might get better coverage than an LTE would get.
Offer to Help
Send a copy to your Local, State, and Federal representatives, or whatever bureaucrats you want. Tell them you suspect they may soon be faced with these questions from less than sympathetic quarters, and assure them you just want to alert them so they will have time to prepare their position statements. Offer to help them collect information or prepare their defenses. Your offer is not likely to be accepted, but they are almost forced to read the questions and reflect on them. If they should happen to accept your offer, call DPFT for whatever help you need. That's why we are here.
Nearly everyone considers drug abuse a very serious problem, but most people have not thought carefully about policy options. Many people have not even noticed that drug prohibition and alcohol prohibition are the same thing and produce the same catastrophic results. Research these questions to learn how to distinguish between drug problems and drug prohibition problems.
Do not feel discouraged if none of the questions you pose draw answers from VIPs. An unanswered question often has more impact than one that gets an emotional but unrelated response. For example, ask a typical politician about excessively harsh prison sentences for non-violent offenders and you could get a long, rambling reply about the tragedy of abused children. The audience can be so sympathetic to the answer that they fail to notice it had nothing to do with the question, and the subliminal message is, one question – one answer. On the other hand, if they have the question in writing they don't forget what it was and they are more likely to spot irrelevant answers. Even better is when the VIP refuses to take any questions at all, thus leaving the impression of deliberately avoiding your questions, exactly as the heading says on your flyer. An unanswered question can be more thought provoking than one that gets answered.
Here at DPFT we hope you
will learn more about the situation, understand how it affects everyone
(not just drug users), and we hope you will join us in working to change
things. Your dues and contributions support projects like this one,
designed to raise awareness of current policies and encourage consideration
of effective alternatives. As a DPFT member you also receive our
newsletter, a collection of important developments in drug policy issues,
and a good source of ideas for how you can help end prohibition for the
second time this century.
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Better yet, send a donation, large or small, to:
Drug Policy Forum of Texas
PO Box 420687
Houston, TX 77242-0687
877-667-1888 (Toll Free)
Latest Revision 28-Dec-03