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A message from the Drug Policy Forum of Texas

Thanks for the chance to say hello to all the supporters of the November Coalition and to describe the purpose of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas (DPFT).

DPFT was formed to find alternatives to prison and prohibition in dealing with the harm done by drug abuse. We believe we must transfer primary responsibility to the public health sector, using more and better prevention, education and treatment.

I won't spend much time preaching to the choir, but DPFT proclaims that the War On Drugs has made us the biggest prison state for nonviolent offenders in the world, has the most racist impact of any policy since slavery, and has done profound damage to American ideals that should be reflected in our system of justice instead of being trampled on by it. One way or another, at every step along the way, the War On Drugs winds up hurting innocent children.

The DPFT process is to reach out to media, legislators and community groups to educate them about drugs, addicts and addiction. We try to explain the futility of trying to stop supply and the ineffectiveness and inhumanity of our current prison centered policies. It may be face to face, in our writing, in a speech to a civic organization, in a demonstration or in a public forum such as the ones we've held at four Texas universities.

In all cases we stress education rather than confrontation and let them know about the scientific evidence that is so different from their assumptions. Because our members and advisors include many professionals who work with these problems, we hope that helps our credibility with the public. We want the facts to bring them in conflict with their consciences and have faith that in time we will prevail.

We stress that current policies support the increased power of bureaucrats and the profits of special interests. It is going to take a lot of people working together and a lot of money to overcome them. Many of our members have little money but they do have energy. Each of your members has a wide network of family and friends and the more we reach out the stronger we become.

Any of your members who would also like to work with DPFT are very welcome. We particularly would like to unite with Texans, but if some out-of-staters feel that progress in a state like Texas will raise eyebrows everywhere and want to lend a hand, they wouldn't have to twist our arms. Membership is $25 [more if you're so inclined] or $7 if you're strapped [less for Texans if necessary]. Membership includes our monthly newsletter, and those who contribute another $35 can get three excellent books, 'Shattered Lives,' 'Drug Crazy,' and 'Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts.'

Congratulations on all the wonderful work you're doing.

In unity, keep the faith, and we shall overcome.

Jerry Epstein
President, Drug Policy Forum of Texas
888 Sam Houston Parkway, Suite 248
Houston, TX 77042
DPFT: [713] 784-3196, fax [713] 784 3488
Outside Houston [1-888-511-DPFT]

See also:
Good Sense, By Bob Ramsey, DPFT

U.S. drug laws harmful, need thorough reform

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

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