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Report from San Diego

Meeting the League of Women Voters

By Tom Murlowski, Associate Director, The November Coalition

On June 15th, I met with the Albuquerque, NM chapter of the League of Women Voters in San Diego for their annual convention. This chapter is promoting a National Drug Policy Study. These women are on top of the issues. Their booth featured HR 95 prisoner profiles and a variety of charts, graphs and documents showing the futility and outright cruelty of the war on drugs.

One of the women I met with, Beverly Evans, worked in prisons in New Mexico for 9 years, and has seen firsthand the madness. They were getting positive responses from the other chapters at the convention.

I urge you all, men and women alike, to contact your local chapters of the League of Women Voters and express your ardent support for what the ladies from New Mexico are attempting to create.

A similar effort, led by a women named Pauline Sabin, helped end alcohol prohibition in the '30s. Let's activate the Yang, folks. It is frequently the job of women in our culture to bring us back to reason and compassion. Never underestimate the power and wisdom of the females! The weaker sex? HA!

LWV of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County
5015 Prospect NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110
Ph. - (505) 884-8441
Jan Bray -
Beverly Evans -

League of Women Voters
1730 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-4508
Ph. - (202)-429-1965
FAX - (202)-429-0854
LWV of California
926 J Street Suite 515
Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph. - (916) 442-7215

January, 1998


CURRENT SITUATION: The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy appointed by the President, has published a five prong strategy for "lessening the demand for illegal drugs or their availability." The strategy consists of the following major goals:

Educate and enable America's youth to reject illegal drugs as well as alcohol and tobacco.

Increase the safety of America's citizens by substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence.

Reduce health and social costs to the public of illegal drug use.

Shield America's air, land, and sea frontiers from the drug threat.

Break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply.

REASON FOR STUDY: The Drug policy Committee of the League of Women Voters of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County, New Mexico has studied the issue of drugs for the past two years. Our study shows that national policy directly influences and often dictates local laws and enforcement policies and practices regarding the use and distribution of drugs.

The current national drug policy reflects a keen appreciation of the costs to society from the use of illegal drugs. It attempts to curb that use. However, numerous studies have shown that this drug policy has cost billions of dollars and has not resulted in a significant reduction in supply. With respect to the policy's goal of "increasing the safety of American citizens," the policy is implemented in part by "helping law enforcement seize criminal assets." Is this objective being accomplished at the expense of basic Constitutional Rights which Americans cherish? Further, one of the costs of the "war on drugs" has been overcrowding in prisons and the necessity for local citizens to bear the expense of building and maintaining new prisons. Do these costs outweigh the benefits of striving to live in a possibly unachievable "drug free" society?

WE PROPOSE assessing the answers to these and many other questions, including the apparent factual premise on which the policy is based, namely, that certain drugs are so inherently bad that they should be classified as illegal in all respects and all quantities.

WE PROPOSE a study of current and alternative drug policies. It should cover the history and development of the present policy and the nature of addiction­­both physiological and social.

Many learned individuals have questioned the wisdom and implementation of the National Drug Policy. The League of Women Voters has a reputation for solid research and study of tough national issues vitally affecting the lives of American Citizens. We believe that the time has come for the League to study the existing drug policy and possible alternatives as well as the nature of addiction, so that we can be a leader in action on this important national issue.

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