LatinaLista -- Mother's Day is a day usually set aside to celebrate mom but this Mother's Day has a slightly different twist -- it's the kick-off date for a new national campaign entitled "Moms United to End the War on Drugs."
The campaign is under the nonprofit A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing). The mission of A New PATH is to educate the "public, media and decision makers" about the realities of the disease of addiction.
Moms United to End the War on Drugs takes the mission a step further by "stopping the stigmatization and criminalization of people who use drugs or who are addicted to drugs."
Mothers were instrumental in ending alcohol prohibition in the United States in the 30's, not because they were in favor of alcohol, but because they wanted to end the gangland violence and loss of lives caused by organized crime, fueled by prohibition.
Moms and concerned citizens can once again be instrumental in ending the 40 year failed war on drugs and the devastation that has been caused by it, because we are the major stakeholders in this war and because we voice concerns for the futures of our children.
The focus of the campaign is to stop penalizing drug users with excessive incarceration rates, to address the epidemic of preventable overdose deaths, and end "prohibition-related" violence.
The majority of mothers involved in the campaign have been personally touched by the loss of a child or family member to prison or death because of either their addiction to drugs or were caught in the cross-fire of drug violence.
Leaders of the Moms United campaign from around the country include Gretchen Burns Bergman (San Diego, CA), the mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction and repeated incarceration; Denise Cullen (Palm Desert, CA), a social worker specializing in grief counseling, whose son died from an overdose two years ago; Kathie Kane-Willis (Chicago, IL), a researcher and professor, mother of a 13 year old daughter, founder of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University and a former heroin user; Joyce Rivera (New York, NY) who founded St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction in the Bronx and is the sister of an injection drug user who died of HIV/AIDS and Joy Strickland (Dallas, Texas) , CEO of Mothers Against Teen Violence, who son was killed by drug prohibition related violence.
Moms United to End the War on Drugs will organize activities around the country over the next several months, including commemorations of the 40th Anniversary of President Nixon declaring the "War on Drugs" on June 17 and International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31.