VOCAL Guide to Your Week: Winning Alternatives to the Drug War!


This Week

  • Wednesday (9/30) @ 6PM: Out of Harm's Way, Alternatives to Public Injection in New York. A town hall on Supervised Injection Facilities (SIFs) with international panelists and Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! RSVP HERE. Where: Unitarian Church of All Souls, 1157 Lexington Avenue, corner of 80th & Lexington Ave. Travel: 6 train to 77th Street. Contact: Fred Wright at 646-321-5282 or fred@vocal-ny.org
  • Thursday (10/1) @ 11:30AM: Join AIDS activists demanding Turing Pharmaceuticals terminate Martin Shrekli and end their practice of inflating prices of orphan drugs! Sign the Petition. Where: 1177 6th Avenue (between 45th & 46th St). TRAVEL: B,D,F,M to 47th-50th Rockefeller Center. Contact: Jason Walker at 917-200-1153 or jason@vocal-ny.org.

Week in Review

  • Our fight for a public health solution to K2, a synthetic drug currently in the media spotlight, got great coverage when City Council Speaker sided with VOCAL in pointing to marijuana criminalization as causing people to turn to K2. Check out the story in the Daily News, featuring an op-ed by a VOCAL member telling his story of K2 use. And additional coverage on our response in Metro NY and Al Jazeera.   

"Alyssa Aguilera, policy director for advocacy and reform group VOCAL-NY, suggested Bratton's statements were beyond flawed. "Commissioner Bratton's claim that marijuana is somehow related to crime and violence is irresponsible fear mongering and not based in reality," Aguilera said Thursday. "If anything, legalizing marijuana will reduce violent crime, as it did in Colorado, by eliminating a need for an underground marijuana market." Aguilera also said that recent changes on NYPD policy towards marijuana have actually helped the city prevent needless criminalization… At the same time, Aguilera also took issue with Bratton's refusal to link anti-marijuana laws with the citywide uptick in the use of synthetic marijuana, otherwise known as K2. "We know that some people use K2 to avoid testing positive for marijuana — like if they are on probation, parole or in a methadone program," she said.” Metro NY.

  • After the showing of Everywhere But Safe, a documentary about public injection in New York by our very own Matt Curtis, our campaign for Supervised Injection Facilities got coverage in the Gothamist and the Daily News.
  • Referencing passage of our "Fair Chance Act", city legislation to remove questions about applicants' criminal history to give people with records a fair shot at employment, Governor Cuomo announced a similar policy for state jobs. Check out more in the Daily News.

What We're Reading

  • Homeless on East Harlem Street Feel Unwanted Pressure After Drug Raids. (New York Times) "But some homeless people still on the street say they are being pushed out by the city as policing increases. Richard Thomas, 54, one of the men who was on the street on Wednesday, said officers approached him around 5 a.m. and told him he could no longer be there.
  • A crucial strategy to end the homelessness crisis. (Crain's Opinion) "We have a proven solution for addressing the problem of chronic homelessness: permanent supportive housing, which combines affordable housing with on-site services for people with the highest barriers to housing, like mental illness or addiction. Supportive housing is a triple-bottom-line solution: It saves public money, spurs the economy, and most importantly solves a persistent social problem.”
  • A drug company raised a pill's price 5,500 percent because, in America, it can. (The Vox) "The story of Daraprim's giant price increase is, more fundamentally, a story about America's unique drug pricing policies. We are the only developed nation that lets drugmakers set their own prices — maximizing profits the same way that sellers of chairs, mugs, shoes, or any other seller of manufactured goods would.
  • New York Zoning Plan Requires More Affordable Homes. (New York Times) "But the rezoning plan has drawn some fierce opposition from tenant and community advocates who say it does not go far enough in creating housing for poor New Yorkers. A group of about 30 protesters gathered in the lobby of the City Planning Department building as the commission met, at times drowning out the proceedings with horns and cries of “Fight, fight, fight, housing is our right."

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