This International Overdose Awareness Day, We Demand Action
The war on drugs is a war on people. This made-up war has been a key weapon used to destroy, destabilize, and criminalize Black, Brown and low-income communities for over 50 years. And while organized resistance has led to a number of victories – New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, integral to cementing the war on drugs across the nation, were repealed in 2009 – we still face a crisis. 14 years later, these laws may be off the books but Rockefeller’s racist policies still persist and continue to destroy lives.
Outdated and harmful government positions like New York’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor – a role that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country – continue to destroy and criminalize communities. In the role since 1998, Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan prosecutes and secures thousands of prisons and jail sentences a year.
Entrenched in the old system, New York officials like Brennan are not only exacerbating the current overdose crisis through criminalization and stigmatization, but they are opposing life-saving measures like overdose prevention centers – ultimately contributing to even more deaths, pain, loss, and hardship within our communities.
● Incarceration increases overdose deaths
● Criminalization of people who use drugs interrupts access to health care, which increases overdose deaths
● Criminalization of poverty drives homelessness, which increases overdose deaths
● Criminalization of unhoused people leads to the destruction of encampments, which increases overdose deaths
With 18 New Yorkers lost to overdose deaths each day, something needs to change. It’s time to drop the drug war. We demand health-based drug laws for today’s New York. But awareness is not enough. We demand action!
Action looks like increasing health solutions, like Overdose Prevention Centers – which reduce deaths while supporting health and wellness within our communities. It also looks like reducing harms by prioritizing our communities’ well-being and economic security: providing accessible health care, food, mental health counseling, housing, and employment support.
New York represents both a stain on the nation and a beacon of hope on drug policy. New York needs to divest from harmful systems and invest in what works – harm reduction, social services, and care.
We urge you to join us at City Hall Park on August 31 – International Overdose Awareness Day – at 11:30AM as we hold our march, vigil, and rally to urge New York officials to unravel the web of destruction and violence that characterizes our state’s drug policy – and to replace it with a health and harm-reduction based system that offers hope and life instead.
- This event has passed.
International Overdose Awareness Day: March, Vigil & Rally
August 31, 2023 @ 11:30 am
Awareness is not enough. We demand action. Join us at City Hall Park to demand New York officials divest from systems of harm and death, and instead, invest in expanding lifesaving harm reduction, social services, and care.