Steven Steiner founded Dads And Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers (DAMMADD) after his 19-year-old son, Stevie, died of an OxyContin overdose.
This sad event turned Steiner into a rabid anti-drug crusader. Well, except that his organization is funded primarily by pharmaceutical companies - including Purdue Pharma, which made the drug that killed his son. That, and his organization primarily works to oppose statewide medical marijuana legislation which his pharmadonors certainly don't want to pass. They must be worried they'd lose a lot of money if seriously ill people were able to have access to a plant that anyone can grow in their own backyard and thus can't be patented.
Steiner has gone so far as to put gut-wrenching pictures of his son's dead body up on his website. He's also set up a form on his website where visitors can submit tips to turn in drug dealers - for cash rewards.
But if you think drug policy reformers are worried about Steiner and his well-funded organization, you're wrong. His "action alerts" almost invariably contain spelling and grammatical errors. No one takes him seriously, especially the public officials these alerts are aimed at. Here's just a tiny sampling (my comments in parentheses):
"Back in September I watched a video called up in smoke this is a dvd put out by Snoop Dogg advocating drug use, violence and demeaning of women. This dvd is so over the top and something must be done about the advertisers who want to make Snoop Dogg some kind of icon. These corporations need to hear from us, so what I would like you to do is click on the link below and watch the video,(this video contains explicit language and sexuality and should not be watched by children under the age of 17) I am sorry that you have to watch this but after seeing this it will make you angry and want to react." - Dec. 9 (punctuation, anyone?)You'd think Steiner would have someone take a look at his alerts before he sends them out (or at least use his e-mail program's built-in spellchecker).
"It was a very extraodinary year this year, we launched over 20 petitions fighting everything from medical marijuana, needle exchanges and even being a big part of the meth bill that passed here in New York State." - Oct. 25 (how "extraodinary!")
"This is a Must read For All Parents.... Marijuana Policy Project and Drug Police alliance both will tell your kids that marijuana is natural and safe??? Wrong and either is moonflower shame on them...... this is why George Soros and Peter Lewis must be stopped." - Oct. 18 (Drug Police alliance, eh?)
"We would also like to thank our corporate sponsors: Purude Pharma..." - Dec. 11 (he misspells the name of his primary funder!)
In addition to being a sad, misguided dad with terrible spelling and grammar, he's also a partisan hack. Take for example this article, in which he urges readers to resist buying auto insurance from Progressive (owned by Marijuana Policy Project, ACLU, and MoveOn.org donor Peter B. Lewis) and instead do business with Nationwide, who Steiner says is "on your side." He links to this list of political contributions showing that 89% of the company's PAC donations have so far gone to Republicans in the '06 election cycle.
And another thing: I just don't understand DAMMADD's name. Why are only the moms mad? Are the apathetic dads just against drug dealers because their angry wives told them to be?
But seriously, my heart goes out to any family (including the Steiners) who've lost loved ones to the real and serious problem of drug abuse. But advocating for harsher punitive policies that will only ruin more people's lives is just plain sick. This grieving man is being taken advantage of by greedy pharmaceutical companies. I'm not sure he even knows what he's doing.