The Count the Costs campaign has now been running for 6 months, after a successful launch at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March. It is now fully up to speed, with the website complete, the resource library filling up, new briefings ready, and more to follow very soon, including translations, and the range and number of supporters growing. Active outreach to groups in all sectors being harmed by the war on drugs is underway. In addition, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network have been running their own strand of the Count the Costs project, with many other groups carrying out activities too. There are many opportunities for you to become even more involved if you wish.

The below is brief, so please contact me for more details, and do forward this email to anyone who may be interested.

  1. Spanish website and Latin American launch  - La campaña Guerra Contra las Drogas: Calcula los Costos: We launched Count the Costs at a conference in Mexico yesterday – see the Count the Costs blog for details – along with a showing of the film Cocaine Unwrapped. The whole website is now available in Spanish with translations of all the briefings – let us know if you want any hard copies. The preliminary work on a Russian site and translations of the first two briefings has also been completed, we will launch these soon too.
  2. New Briefings and Website Sections: We are on target to produce a briefing about each of the 7 costs areas by the end of this year. The War on Drugs: Undermining Human Rights, was produced in collaboration with several other Count the Costs supporters (including Transform, EHRN, Release, HRI, ESPOLEA). This is in addition to the summary of all the costs and a briefing on international development and security costs. We have also added two final sections to the website –  How to Count the Costs; and Alternatives (to the drug war).
  3. Events: In addition to the launch events at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and in Mexico, there have been several Count the Costs events including in Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Norway with HCLU playing a leading role through the European Drug Policy Initiative. For more detail see HCLU’s excellent new World Drug Day Count the Costs video which includes a summary of the costs. A PowerPoint presentation you can use for your own events is available, or we can help find you a speaker.
  4. Resources: The website holds a range of resources documenting the harms caused by the war on drugs under the seven key headings. We now have several volunteers collating resources, helping to make the library a fully comprehensive source of information on the war on drugs in the coming months. Please send us any reports, images, videos or news articles detailing drug war costs, alternatives or ways to count the costs and we will summarise and upload them, including in Spanish or other languages (for these a short summary would be appreciated). The interactive world map, guiding visitors to regionally specific information on the costs of the War on Drugs region has been built into the website navigation system and can be viewed here and we are interested in resources for all regions.
  5. Supporters: Count the Costs now has 40 supporting organisations from all over the world, covering a range of different cost areas – please encourage your contacts or member organisations to add their names too, if they haven’t yet! We have begun outreach to NGOs in other sectors using the briefings, including meeting with a number of development, security and human rights organisations already.
  6. Looking ahead - Time to Count the Costs of the War on Drugs NGO Event: Transform, with the support of other organisations, is organising a Count the Costs dinner event in London with Chair of the Global Commission on Drugs former Brazilian President Cardoso, and former Swiss President Dreifuss, with a senior representative from UNDP (t.b.c) in November. The event is aimed at engaging senior staff of key development, human rights, environment and security NGOs with the drugs issue. (We hope to run a similar event looking at the other costs early next year.)

To keep up to date please use Facebook or follow Count the Costs on Twitter, or read the Count the Costs blog.

If you would like to post to the blog as a guest, receive hard copies of materials, or have suggestions for groups to approach to support the project, or want support with your own Count the Costs activities please let george@tdpf.org.uk know.

"We are on the brink of a substantial shift in international drug policy that will transform the entire globe. After decades waiting in the wings, alternatives to prohibition are now firmly on the negotiating table for discussion." Ex-President of Colombia Cesar Gaviria, June 2011.

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