Sugar Land Democrats Club holds 5th public policy forum

Shown from left to right are: Jerry Epstein, President of Drug Policy Forum of Texas; Professor William Martin - Senior Fellow at James A. Baker III Institute; Ms. Cynthia Ginyard - Precinct Matters Chairperson Fort Bend County Democratic Party; and Deron Patterson - Co-Founder/Co-Chair Sugar Land Democrats Club.

The Sugar Land Democrats Club held their fifth public policy forum for 2011 with a discussion on drug policy issues and the “War on Drugs”. More than 40 residents of Sugar Land gathered to hear the viewpoints of Mr. Jerry Epstein, President of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas www.dpft.org and Professor William Martin of Rice University and a Senior Fellow of Religion and Public Policy at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy www.bakerinstitute.org The event was recorded by journalist Dean Becker and aired on over 90 broadcast affiliates in North America. Dean Becker concentrates his time and energy educating the public on the truth about the drug war and current USA policy on drugs via his radio show The Drug Truth Network that can be accessed at www.drugtruth.net or on radio station 90.1 KPFT Pacifica Radio.

Mr. Epstein stated “Seven percent of the adult population aged twenty-six and older in the USA has a problem with a drug and the number one drug of choice in America is alcohol”. If we consider seven people out of one-hundred have a problem with a drug that means five of the seven have problems with alcohol, thus leaving two people for every one-hundred with a problem with prescription pain killers, or cocaine/crack, or heroin.

Professor William Martin has been advocating for a needle exchange program in Texas for many years due to the overwhelming evidence that it reduces pain and suffering for our brothers and sisters who have become addicted to heroin. Professor Martin said “30% of all AIDS infections and 70% of all Hepatitis infections are spread by injecting drug users”. He added, “A John Hopkins study of the Baltimore City Exchange found that the incidents of HIV in Baltimore decreased by 35% overall and by 70% among the 10,000 participants in that program”. Texas has the 4th highest number of AIDS cases in the USA and to date we are the only state that prohibits a needle exchange program. A joint study by John Hopkins and Cornell Medical Schools estimated that every case of HIV prevented saves $303,000 in medical expenses.

Professor Martin who has a Master of Theology and more importantly brings a Christ-like attitude to our brothers and sisters who are suffering under the weight of an addiction said the following powerful statement, “ Now despite the evidence of the many highly successful needle exchange programs in other parts of USA and Europe, many politicians (Democrats and Republicans) often reflecting the views of their constituents fall back on the argument, “Well it sends the wrong message to provide clean needles to drug users.” Well, think about the message we now send. We know a way that can dramatically reduce the chances that you will get HIV or Hepatitis or spread the disease. It will dramatically reduce the cost the state is spending for the medical expenses associated with the treatment for AIDS and Hepatitis. But, because we believe what you are doing is illegal, sinful, immoral, we are not going to do what we know works. You are social lepers, and because as upright, moral, righteous, deeply religious people, we prefer that you and your social kind die. Is that the message we want to send?”

An overwhelming majority of the audience participants answered that we need to do what we know works and what is just and compassionate for our brothers and sisters in the name of all helpers of humankind.

The Sugar Land Democrats Club will have a special fund-raising event on Saturday, August 6, from 7:00PM to 9:00PM at the Sugar Land Social Club in Sugar Land. Our keynote speaker will be Mr. Jim Hightower, a great speaker and advocate for the Democratic Party in Texas. Appetizers will be served alongside a cash bar. Donation $20 at the door. Host sponsorships are available.

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