Minute on Drug Concerns

Approved by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in session, March 26, 2000

Friends for over 300 years have sought to live “in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars.” Today our country is engaged in a “war on drugs” which bears all the hallmarks of war: displaced populations, disrupted economies, terrorism, abandonment of hope by those the war is supposedly being fought to help, the use of military force, the curtailment of civil liberties, and the demonizing of the “enemies.” While we are all affected by the war on drugs, we are painfully aware that particularly victimized are people of color, the poor, and other less powerful persons.

In addition, drugs continue to do terrible harm to people in our country and throughout the world. Our federal, state and local governments need to put much greater emphasis on strategies that act to remove the causes of drug addiction and provide for education, treatment, and research into the causes of addiction.

We call upon Friends to work toward exploring ways in which the vast sums now being used in this war can be diverted toward treatment, research, and education on the dangers of the use of illegal drugs and inappropriate use of legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco. We also call upon Friends to be mindful of the ways in which our behavior and our speech support this war and the misuse of drugs.

Some Friends, presently under the weight of this concern, are working toward the development of political alliances to change government policy. Other Friends are working to develop ways to reach out to people in and out of the Religious Society of Friends suffering from addiction and to help them call on the Holy Spirit for aid in freeing themselves from this terrible burden. We urge Friends to support those who carry this concern and pray that others will join them in finding paths that lead us toward peace, reconciliation, and healing.