On October 15, the YAL chapter at the University of New Orleans held a tabling event to bring attention to the war on drugs. Our chapter believes that the war on drugs creates many negative consequences in its implementation and that these problems should be brought to light. It should be noted that while we stand in opposition to the drug war, we in no way would advocate the use of illegal substances.
Our chapter decided that in order to make this event a success, driving this point was essential. We needed to highlight the failings of the war on drugs without appearing as a group of students who just wanted to engage in drug use. Our goal was to highlight the constitutional implications of the government regulating what we can and can’t put in our own bodies, as well as the negative costs associated with it.
During the event we passed out material provided to us by Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and shipped to us by Students for Liberty. Among the literature, there were cards advocating “Education not Incarceration,” as well as other material explaining to students their rights when confronted by law enforcement.
A lot of the students on campus seemed to resonate with the event and we received a lot of support. Our chapter members were also very eager to engage the student body and bring the failings of the drug war to their attention. A lot of the students agreed with several points our group held regarding the use of excessive force and punishment in the drug war. We also advocated for less spending on the militarization of police and placed more emphasis on the availability of rehabilitation for addicts.
The event did not go without some misconception of our message. There were a few students who supported the goal of the drug war and did not understand our point of view. Chapter members explained to them our positions and educated them with some of the facts surrounding the war on drugs. It should be noted, however, that when confronted with the “no victim, no crime” philosophy, they often admitted it was definitely something they needed to think about. Even if they could not support us that day, we were happy to introduce them to an alternate view.
In closing, we meet with a great deal of success. We had very positive feed back from students and we got 39 individuals to sign up for more information about our chapter. We would like to that Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Students for Liberty for providing us with their materials and for helping to make our event a success!Published in