You can make a difference

I reported a few days back on a fairly bizarre article from Virginia about (in part) the assistance that Andrea Barthwell and John Pastuovic have provided for promoting a school drug testing program in Williamsburg.
Several people contact the editor about the story, and he appears truly interested in learning more; he indicated that he intends to question Andrea and John about their connections to GW Pharmaceuticals; and he printed this outstanding letter by Charles M. Darlington.
Just goes to show that just a little bit of speaking up can go a long way. Very often, reporters simply do not know about the prohibitionists’ agendas, or about the other sides to an issue like drug testing. Not only did this letter get published, but it’s likely that the reporter will, from now on, ask more probing questions about drug testing in Williamsburg.
A picture named map.gifOne great way to get involved is through MAPinc. – The Media Awareness Project (by DrugSense). This incredible site archives drug policy articles and letters to the editor from newspapers around the world. It is an indispensable research tool for me. I’m able to search for past articles when I do a story, find quotes by the Drug Czar, research reactions to an event and much more.
MAPinc also has great resources for letter-writing, including specific action alerts and tips on writing letters to the editor. They astutely note that getting a letter published is the equivalent of an expensive advertisement when it comes to column inch visibility in the paper. Letter writers through MAP have gotten letters published with a combined value of over $2 million each year. And the great thing? These are not astroturf (which I despise), but individually composed letters by real people, expressing their own views.
Not a writer? Then be a newshawk. Find articles about the Drug War and pass them on to the editors at MAPinc so they can be archived (and so I can find them there the next time I search). You’ll even have your name attached to the article as the newshawk for finding it. (If you don’t want the credit, you can always put in as the newshawk and get me some free publicity.)
Don’t have time for any of those things? Then donate.

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