Monday, March 31, 2008

1986 - The Creation of the Drug Policy Foundation

From my unpublished manuscript "Coca- Forgotten Medicine"
The Response in the U.S.: the creation of the Washington, D.C. based Drug Policy Foundation

In response to the drug war’s escalation in 1986 Dr. Arnold S. Trebach, a professor at the American University published his book The Great America Drug War.

Released months after the explosion of drug war sensationalism following Len Bias’s June 1986 fatal cocaine overdose, this book contains little about cocaine and almost nothing about Coca, in part for being written prior to 1986.

The book does devote a good deal of attention to issues regarding heroin and the forced confinement of youths in various programs to reprogram them to be drug free (particularly when it is uncertain if the individual has a true drug problem, as defined by the drug use having an objectively determinable adverse consequences rather then simply being defined a problem by a statute). Both heroin and forced confinement are issues that Arnold Trebach has highlighted, such as his 1982 bookThe Heroin Solution.

In 1986, Trebach announced the creation of the Drug Policy Foundation, which held its first annual conference in 1987 in London, U.K., and its second in Washington, D.C., October 20-23, 1988.

The Drug Policy Foundation (the D.P.F.) was important as a response to a drug war that escalated over manipulations of popular fears about “cocaine” by a drug policy reform (a broadly defined group including anyone opposed to the existing laws) movement that clearly had to move beyond changing the a laws towards Cannabis (Marijuana), which already had its N.O.R.M.L.: the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, founded in 1971. With hysteria over cocaine leading to stricter laws in the U.S. cir 1986-88, much as hysteria earlier over heroin and psychedelics such as LSD leading to stricter laws, and against Cannabis (Marijuana in the 1930s), educating the public about cocaine and Coca would be a logical prerequisite changing popular opinion about the drug laws.

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