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CNDP August Newsletter #2
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Harm Reduction: Meeting People Where They Are

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The principle of harm reduction calls for responding to those struggling with drug abuse and addiction by “meeting people where they are.”   It does not insist on abstinence as a prerequisite to treatment.  This approach is gaining strength across the nation and building support for “harm reduction” is a key priority for us.  In this issue, we offer a special perspective on harm reduction.  We also provide an update on our support for ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana in five states on November 8.


Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, 
Executive Director, Clergy for a New Drug Policy
Rule-Breaking and Radical Love
On Friday, we attended the annual Conference of the Midwest Harm Reduction Institute of Heartland Alliance for Human Rights and Human Needs: “Harm Reduction in the House, Growing from Our Roots.” We are grateful to the Rev. Kathryn Ray, former project coordinator of CNDP, now Pastor of Discipleship at North Shore Baptist Church for her commentary.

A homeless shelter may be a refuge for those with no place to turn, but the entrance at its gate comes with a steep admission price:  “Turn in your LINK card.”  “Make your bed.”  “Attend religious services daily.”  “Stay sober.”  “Be in by curfew.”

At the Harm Reduction in the House 2016 conference which I attended last Friday, two young people who had experienced homelessness could quickly rattle off lists of requirements.  These requirements mean that the choice to seek out a shelter or stay under the Wilson Street viaduct requires a careful cost and benefit analysis.  If staying out late with friends or smoking marijuana gives you the comfort you need in the face of loss and trauma, the trade-off for four walls and a roof may not be worth it.

Read More
Marijuana Initiative Updates: Arizona and Maine
On November 8, voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Nevada will decide whether to legalize marijuana in their states.  We are working on behalf of all these initiatives.
 
We will soon be traveling to Arizona to build support for Proposition 205, and are currently asking clergy to sign and circulate a letter to their colleagues supporting this measure.   
Concerning “Question 1” 
In Maine, a long-time friend, Sup. (Ret.) Denny Gallaudet
, has just shared with us his letter of September 23, published in the Bangor Daily News, explaining why, as a former school superintendent, he supports a system of tax and regulation. 
Take Action
Sign CNDP's Religious Declaration against the War on Drugs, and view our nine issues to learn more about CNDP. 
Support the Veterans’ Access to Medical Marijuana Amendment.
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