Thursday, May 18, 2006

DEA - Parents' and Family Vigil for dead from drug use

Let's never forget that some drugs can kill you. Never forget that even if you are careful and experienced, some street drugs are contaminated and will kill you. Never forget that the drugs you obtained from your doctor, or pursuant to her or his prescription, might kill you.

Let's never forget that when someone you love dies, you are hurt forever.

DEA has created a website to support its vigil on June 8 to honor those who have died from the use of drugs, "A Vigil for Lost Promise: Remembering Those Who Died from Drugs." It purports to be the work of eight families that have endured the tragedy of a child dying from their drug use. The stories, of course, are sad, of young people who used inhalants, prescription drugs, heroin, street "ecstasy," and died. Almost all the parents (and a big sister) have started anti-drug organizations in response to their grief.

Warning kids about the dangers of drugs is everybody's business. Exaggerating the dangers, of course, is counterproductive. And a grieving parent might ask, what policies regarding drugs are most likely to protect naive or experienced, cautious or reckless, young drug users? Would policies that assure that drugs are manufactured and sold by criminals be the best protection for young consumers? Would policies that limit the ability of sellers and buyers to know the actual contents of what is represented to be drug A or drug B be the best protection? Or are the policies that contributed to my child's death the best the can be conceived?

Some parents of deceased drug users really understand the problem. From Grief to Action in Vancouver, BC is one such group. They lobby for harm reduction. They have excellent materials on their website, and report on their work.

Naturally, the DEA-organized event has a whiff of Orwell's "Big Brother." The Vigil will be in the courtyard of DEA headquarters in Arlington, VA. It is closed to all who do not have a ticket. Registration is required. Registration closed on May 15. You must come at least 45 minutes before the program begins to be processed to maintain security. There is a long list of the rules you must comply with, including this warning, "Please do not bring literature to distribute to other participants at the vigil," notwithstanding one's misimpression that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution might apply to the federal government, federal agencies or federal property.

The website has the stories of a number of youths who died from their use or misuse of drugs. When you visit the website, DEA collects information about you for statistical and "other" purposes. Naturally DEA calls this collection of information about you "privacy." But if you want to add the story of your family tragedy for "the wall," you can do so here.

There are links to the sponsors . The link to Joyce Nalepka's Drug Fee Kids: America's Challenge doesn't work. The Drug Free America Foundation has a story on Mexico's legalization of drugs, with a great poll that had only six responses as of 12:30 pm, May 16. DEA, NIDA, CADCA, Partnership for a Drug-Free America are also sponsors.

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1 comment:

thehim said...

The DFAF rotates that poll a lot, and I like to post links to it to get blogswarms that overwhelm the results (the last one had like 80% of the respondents saying that student drug testing is a violation of students' privacy). This poll doesn't even have a good answer.

I just found your site through Drug WarRant. I write a roundup of drug war news every week, and I'll definitely be checking back for more on you have to say.