Friday, June 10, 2011

Mexico City Students Invite All to 40th Anniversary Vigil

17 June 2011

Where: Kiosco de Coyoacan, Coyoacan Centro

When: 19:00 distribution of candles; 20:00 lighting of candles

Please click on the image to view the invitation.

Russia's Draconian Tactics Aimed at Drug Users

"A total war on drugs" was just announced by the Speaker of the Russian Duma, Boris Gryzlov. The Guardian reports that Gryzlov, a close ally of Prime Minister Putin, wants drug dealers "treated like serial killers."

The hard-line, criminal justice approach flies in the face of recent suggestions to treat drug use as a public health issue. The Russian Government immediately dismissed the suggestion last week of the Global Commission on Drugs calling the report "propaganda" for drugs.

Gryzlov said abuse was soaring, and that it "threatened the gene pool." His proposed measures include special punishments for dealers, such as forced labor camps. For users, he calls for "prison or forced treatment."

Drug policy reformers immediately pointed to Russia's poor record of dealing with HIV infection among drug using populations. In many countries, the HIV infection rate among intravenous drug users hovers around 1 to 2 percent. In Russia overall, 16 percent of intravenous drug users are infected with HIV, and in St. Petersburg, that figure rises to around 60 per cent.

Will the initiative pass the Duma? The Guardian reports that Gryzlov has the support of United Russia, the ruling party, which also exerts power over the Parliament.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Action Alert: Help prevent overdose deaths in NY!

Here in New York, we've been hard at work trying to pass an Good Samaritan (or Medical Amnesty) bill that would protect individuals from criminal prosecution when calling 911 in an alcohol or other drug related medical emergency. This life-saving overdose prevention bill passed through the State Assembly last week and now we only have a few days left of the legislative year to get it through the Senate.

It is crucial that we flood Senator Skelos's office with calls urging his support in the next 24 hours to make sure this life-saving bill becomes a live-saving law next week!

Call Senator Dean Skelos, the New York Senate Majority Leader, at (518) 455-3171 and urge him to consider the following:
- S4454A has been carefully crafted to save lives while not allowing drug dealers to "walk free"
- The Assembly version of this bill will save lives and should pass without amendments
- Senators on both sides of the aisle have already expressed their support for the bill as currently written and no amendments are necessary for it's passage

Your supportive calls last week on this issue caused Senate Majority Leader Skelos to take notice! It's looking likely that this bill will pass, but now some are calling for amendments to weaken the bill and we need to make our voices heard.

After you call his office, we'd love to hear how it went, so let us know here. If you don't live or go to school in New York, than please pass this around to friends! We've got to act now and we can't do it without your help.

The Power of Student Activism

Check out our very own David Haseltine, president of the University of Connecticut SSDP chapter, on Huffington Post talking about how SSDP helped pass Connecticut's new marijuana decriminalization law. Go David!