June 26 is the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a day when many governments celebrate their contributions to the global “war on drugs.” In the past, some countries have commemorated this day by holding public executions or beatings of drug offenders. Around the world, poorly designed drug laws that seek to punish production, possession, use, and even dependence have fueled violence, instability, and health crises. It’s time for a new approach.

This event, featuring talks and performances by artists working in various mediums, celebrated the unveiling of a series of murals in New York City that further illustrate how prohibitionist drug policies impact marginalized communities in the United States and abroad.


  • Sebastiano Vitale is a film producer and musician looking at the production and trafficking of cocaine.
  • Baz Dreisinger is author of Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World.
  • Shannon Matesky is a spoken word artist.
  • Andre Trenier and WERC are visual artists painting murals in New York this week to draw attention to drug policy reform.

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