This is my first DPA conference, and I am very happy that I came. There is a sense of great hope here for the future of the drug policy reform movement. I find most people here extremely knowledgeable, intelligent, and passionate, which explains, perhaps, the truth behind the words Ethan Nadelman spoke at the conferenceâ€™s open plenary sessionâ€”that for those of us in the movement, â€œthe winds are against our backs now.â€
The first session I attended was, â€œSupervised Injection Facilities: In the United States?â€ Liz Evans, the executive director and founder of the only North American SIF site, InSite, explained that Vancouverâ€™s success in establishing a SIF site had much to do with sound public health policy that comprehensively advocated for prevention, enforcement, treatment, and harm reduction. Evans was coolly inspirational as she described ways she and her organization educated people about the benefits of SIFsâ€”from demonstrations to circus tent conferences. â€œMake opportunities happen,â€ she encouraged.
Walking into the panel on â€œMDMA as Prescription Medicine,â€ I entered a room packed full of smiling people. All presenters were representing MAPS, and each discussed a different aspect to MAPSâ€™ current partnership with the FDA in researching the effects of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Rick Doblin, the Executive Director of MAPS, expressed excitement as to how the study is proceeding.
The final panel I attended today examined the role of gender in drug policy reform. Each of the seven women presenting were amazing revolutionaries in their particular issue, which ranged from advocacy for pregnant women, support for medical marijuana, female-conducted psychedelic research, development of parent programs in prisons and much more.
Albuquerque is calmly sweetâ€”smiles, relaxed pace, and general acceptance.