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By Nora Callahan, Director, The November Coalition

On June 17th, Drug Czar, Barry McCaffrey wrote in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that, "There is a carefully camouflaged, exorbitantly funded, well-heeled elitist group whose ultimate goal is to legalize drug use in the United States."

What camouflage do the loved ones of America's drug war prisoners wear? Oh, we camouflage our grief to a great degree and try to carry on with demands of life, but I do not think that the drug czar was referring to this concealment, I doubt that he recognizes our pain. That the reform movement was described further as "exorbitantly funded" made me chuckle, for that is not the case of any drug policy reform group that we work with.

Elitist? Pretenders? I think not. Our ultimate goal is for our government to stop waging war against the citizens of this country and decide on a course that will address the problems of drug abuse. Some drug use is acceptable in America and is a matter choice. We have regulated alcohol and nicotine and we are not herding those with nicotine and alcohol addictions into prison, putting them to work in prison factories and separating them from those they love.

McCaffrey's testimony was submitted in response to the open letter printed in the New York Times and signed by over 500 concerned and compassionate dignitaries of the world. We ran this letter in the last issue of The Razor Wire.

Following McCaffrey's far-from-the-truth summation of the drug policy reform movement, Senator Joseph Biden called for Senate hearings on drug legalization, no doubt with the intent to quash what could be honest, open dialogue.

In response to this request by Senator Biden, we ask that you would send a letter to the 18 members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary. We have provided their addresses and a sample letter that you can use or modify to suit your own need and opinion.

For those of you who have friends or family that will sign along with you, feel free to create lines for multiple signatures and addresses of each person that signs. If you do this, change the "I" to "We" in the first and last paragraph.


Committee member's name and address

Dear Honorable _____________ (address each member of the Committee by name)

I'm writing in response to Senator Biden's call for hearings on drug legalization. I am alarmed at the social damage caused by drug abuse and by the drug war itself. Criminalized drugs are everywhere, despite intense policing, severe sentencing, and enforcement that is focused on our nation's minorities.

The results are tragic: violent criminals released to make room for non-violent drug prisoners; families destroyed; neighborhoods blighted; property seized; addiction untreated and constitutional liberties trampled.

The drug war becomes more ferocious each year, with promises of imminent victory. "A drug-free America by 1995!" is now "by 2008". We must find a better way, but our repressive drug war has frightened Americans away from the open dialogue we must have.

We implore you to convene a week-long meeting of independent experts chosen for their tough-minded outlook and intellectual rigor. Let them examine the results of America's drug-control methods in these five specific areas:

1. Societal effects of long sentences given non-violent drug law violators.

2. Economics of drug policy and underground drug markets.

3. Addicts: Drug Treatment and Drug Maintenance.

4. Legal equity for controlling alcohol and marijuana.

5. Drug policy, drug use, and drug crime in Europe.

Let them issue an open report to the American people. This report will evaluate the results of U.S. drug policy and recommend actions for the future.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this request. I am only one of many citizens who believe that war on drugs has done far more harm than it has any good.


Your name.

Please address a copy of this letter to the following:

 Senator Spencer Abraham
329 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

Senator John Ashcroft
316 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Joseph Biden, Jr.
221 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Edward M. Kennedy
315 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Herb Kohl
Washington Office. SH-330
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Jon Kyl
724 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Mike DeWine
140 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Richard Durbin
364 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

 Senator Russell Feingold
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4904

Senator Dianne Feinstein
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Arlen Specter
711 Hart Building
Washington DC 20510

Senator Jeff Sessions
495 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Fred Thompson
523 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Strom Thurmond
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4001

Senator Robert Torricelli
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Orrin Hatch
135 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4402

Senator Charles Grassley
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1501

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