Break the Chains
Deborah Peterson Small
Primary Issue Area:
The change we seek to achieve through national activism is three-fold: To increase awareness that drug addiction is a disease, not a crime, and thereby to reduce the stigma attached to it; to increase access to treatment outside of the criminal justice system, and to promote a range of harm-reducing approaches to deal with drug use and addiction; to reduce the number of people of color arrested, convicted and incarcerated for drug offenses; to reduce the amount of substance abuse plaguing all Americans, but particularly that within poor and minority communities. While there are other groups working on various aspects of drug policy reform, we are the only project that focuses exclusively on reducing the stigma of drug use and mobilizing people of color - a vast and untapped constituency in the fight for more sensible and just drug policies. By empowering communities of color with information, a voice and context for their experiences, we can reduce the stigma of drug addiction and replace a punitive drug war with policies that promote public health, advance racial justice, and respect human rights.
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