Drug Policy

This blog seems to be getting a bit off-track on other stuff while I tone down my blogging in order to write my dissertation, so I should document some blog posts I posted on the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network recently:

Ending the drug war: what we’ve done and what we’re doing

In January 2011, I had a dream. A dream of a national organisation for young people focussed on a control and regulation model for drug policy. As it was a quite literal dream, I sat bolt upright in bed and started scribbling down everything I could remember. What did we want to do? How would that work? How on earth were we going to find volunteers, money, advice?
One year on, and as the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network’s first birthday passed largely unnoticed last week – we were too busy campaigning – we’re still asking ourselves those questions, but we do so with a base of volunteers stretching from Edinburgh to London, and even abroad. It has been hard work, but rewarding hard work.

Read More.

Please don’t send your stoner teenager to military school!

We were contacted recently by Major Momma, who runs a blog describing how she placed her sixteen year old son in military school last September because, as far as has been implied in her posts, she caught him smoking weed and being a grumpy teenager on his summer break. I have replied to her privately, but it also seemed somewhat important to comment publicly for the benefit of parents who may be considering similar measures.

Re:Vision Drug Policy Network neither condemn nor condone the use of drugs – we recognise that some people do use drugs, and we seek to mitigate the harmful consequences that drugs and the laws which regulate them can have. We fundamentally disagree that imprisoning your children in a military academy is in any way an appropriate solution to any concerns you may have over their drug use.

Read More.

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Originally published in Student Direct.

Re:Vision Drug Policy Manchester is a student society that is now in its third year – we were previously known as Manchester Students for Sensible Drug Policy, but are now affiliated to the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network. We campaign for effective drug policy based in human rights and scientific evidence, rather than moralism and political expediency.

Re:Vision march for the alternative

Re:Vision march for the alternative.

Re:Vision Manchester activists believe that the current drug laws are harmful rather than helpful, that drugs should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal justice matter, and that the drug war criminalises and penalises innocent people, and their communities. In a time of cuts to public services, it is outrageous that the UK spends £13billion a year on trying to prevent people from using drugs. This has had little effect – since heroin was banned in 1971, use has risen by 1000%. Hysterical media reports result in bad laws hastily enacted: mephedrone was banned in 2010 because of tenuous links to the deaths of two teenagers who had taken mephedrone while drinking heavily. The autopsy subsequently deemed that mephedrone had not been responsible for their deaths, and the price of mephedrone has since doubled and is now being primarily sold by criminal gangs instead of recreational users – resulting in another drug in the hands of organised crime whose impurities compromise the health of its users far more than the actual drug itself.

Protesting against racism outside Moss Side Police Station.

Protesting against racism outside Moss Side Police Station.

As young people in whose name the drug war is often waged, and who are most often the targets of unfair, selectively enforced laws which do little to prevent harm from drugs, and in many cases increase it, it is vital that we speak out against this and do what we can to promote effective drug policies free from polical bias. A lot of the effort to bring about meaningful drug laws that are based in evidence rather than media headlines is to change the framework of the debate about drugs and how they should be treated. To this end, we raise awareness of our cause through protests, stalls, film showings, informative talks, social events and anything else we can think of – this term, we are producing a comedic film about drugs and attitudes to drugs, which will be released in September 2011. Because drug law reform can only be achieved nationally, we also support the national organisation by contributing to national projects, such as research, website development, and making publicity materials.

Making a nice banner.

Making a nice banner.

There are many different faces of drug law reform, and so we focus to a large extent on what our membership for that year wishes to do. Because we have a lot of people interested in music, we have held a stall at the last five Pangaeas, and will be at the one in June as well. We have people from virtually every course, including Physics, Theology, Philosophy, Neuroscience, Maths and History. There is no typical Re:Vision Manchester activist, we are men, women, gay, straight, humanities, eps, and everything in between and beyond. You can smoke weed every day or believe that taking drugs is wrong – the important thing is that you believe that our current drug laws harm, rather than help, people.

Re:Vision Drug Policy Manchester activists.

Re:Vision Drug Policy Manchester activists.

There is virtually no group in Manchester that we cannot run a joint event with. We have done stuff with Openmedia, the Film Society, the LGBT Society, the Roscoe Occupation, the Disabled Action Network, Cool Runnings, the Drum and Bass Society, RAG, and Manchester Debating Union. If you don’t believe us, try us. :P

We meet every Thursday at 6pm in the union foyer and have an ace meeting to plan everything that we get up to. If you would like to get involved but aren’t a Manchester student, or shortly won’t be, no fear! Check out our informative website at revisiondrugs.org and contact us to see what you can do for drug law reform.

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1784: The Year Prohibition Ended

October 11, 2010

In the late seventeenth century, a new substance was brought back from the edges of the British empire. Sociable, pleasant and healthier than tobacco, it spread first among the aristocracy, but eventually became popular with the masses, to such an extent that, although the government tried to stamp out its consumption, a massive international smuggling […]

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Miffed Letter: re “Fife woman dies after taking ‘bubbles’”

January 28, 2010

Sent to The Courier after the publication of this article about a Fife resident who died in connection with mephedrone: “Dear Sir/Madam, the recent spate of hospitalisations of people who have suffered medical emergencies after taking mephedrone, also known as mcat or bubbles, is a matter of great concern. However, I was troubled by the […]

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Interview with Ewan Hoyle of Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform

January 12, 2010

An interview by Andi Sidwell with Ewan Hoyle, founder of the Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform, at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK National Conference 2009. Listen carefully and you can hear me walking down the corridor behind them talking, um, rather loudly. :) Subscribe to SarahMcCulloch.com via Email! (or via RSS!) Related […]

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He shoots, he scores! Oh, what an own goal! GBL and the politics of drug policy.

December 26, 2009

I am not exactly ignorant of drugs and their uses, but I had never heard of something called “GBL” until I checked the news one day and discovered the government was planning to ban it. GBL is a synthetic drug similar to GHB, which induces mild euphoria and drowsiness at low doses and loss of motor […]

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