Press Releases

Conyers Calls for New Strategies to Deal With Drug Abuse

Washington, DC, June 17, 2011

Today, on the fortieth anniversary of President Nixon declaring a “War on Drugs,” Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) joined Dr. Ron Daniels, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and others at the National Press Club for a forum entitled, “Declaring War on the War on Drugs,” to discuss how Nixon’s initiative has too often made the American people the victims. 

“Now, more than ever, we need to change the counterproductive drug strategies that the nation has pursued for decades,” said Conyers.  “In a time when all levels of government are facing severe budget pressures, it is even more urgent that we stop the policies which harm our citizens and break our budgets.  If we treat people with drug problems as patients instead of criminals, and implement programs that prevent people from taking drugs in the first place, we will accomplish the goals of stemming drug abuse, reducing violent crime, and saving money for our taxpayers.”  

The Global Commission on Drug Policy recently issued a report confirming that arresting and incarcerating people fills prisons and destroys lives but does not reduce the availability of illicit drugs or the power of criminal organizations.  The Commission endorsed investing in activities that can both prevent young people from taking drugs in the first place and prevent those who do use drugs from developing more serious problems.  The Commission also concluded that increasing the intensity of law enforcement to disrupt drug markets is unlikely to reduce gang violence.