Welcome to Vigil for Lost Promise.org -- a site that remembers those who have died from drugs and the drug war. We lament the lost promise of individuals whose lives have been cut short by drugs and other by-products of the drug war. We also mourn the lost promise of a nation that continues to sacrifice its citizens to the political aims of a decades-old failed drug war.
There is another site (created and maintained by the Drug Enforcement Agency, in conjunction with the National Parent Vigil) that billed itself as a Vigil for Lost Promise (www.vigilforlostpromise.com). This is not that site. (nor is it directly connected to the May 18, 2007 event at Chicago's Navy Pier). The DEA site used to contain the tragic stories of some individuals who lost their lives to drugs (it has since been transformed into a meth site). However, our view is that the DEA, and the other prohibitionist groups who sponsored that site, were hypocrites, since they were, in fact, partially to blame in many drug deaths.
How does the Drug War contribute to Drug Deaths?
Some people will find a way to abuse drugs whether they are legal or illegal (this has been true throughout history, and history has clearly shown that no regime can eliminate the presence of drugs regardless of the severity of prohibition). Prohibition, however, adds additional dangers that that have been responsible for the loss of thousands of lives.
Prohibition puts drug distribution in the hands of criminals, who care little for the welfare of users. Prohibition also makes criminal drug trade extremely profitable. In fact, prohibitionists are the drug traffickers best friends. Without them, the drug dealers would be out of a job.
Prohibition adds a stigma to drug abuse that often prevents people from seeking help. It is easier to get friends to help you quit smoking cigarettes, or attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, than to ask for help in kicking an illegal drug habit.
Stigma also interferes with seeking medical attention in the case of an overdose or severe reaction. Someone who would not hesitate to rush a friend with alcohol poisoning to the emergency room may wait a fatally long time considering what to do with a friend who has overdosed.
The current lack of any regulation of drugs increases the risk of tainted drugs and uncertain potency, which can lead to overdoses and death.
The resistance to providing clean syringes to drug addicts increases AIDS and other fatal blood-born diseases.
Current law in many cases prevents organizations and individuals from pursuing other harm-reduction activities, such as providing ecstasy testing kits to make sure people don't take an unexpected and fatal mixture.
Illegal drug dealers want to hook clients in order to obtain future profits.
With prohibition, since the drug purchaser is put into a situation of dealing with criminals, he or she is much more likely to be involved in violent and dangerous situations.
Prohibition creates vast profitable criminal enterprises that settle their problems through violence, and innocent victims get caught in the crossfire.
So, for pro-prohibition groups like the DEA and The Partnership for a Drug-Free America to put together a site that holds a vigil to remember those who lost their lives to drugs is the ultimate in hypocrisy. Drug policy reformers care much more about those lost lives and wish to create policy change to regulate currently illegal drugs and get them out of the control of criminals.
Drug War Victims
What makes the hypocrisy worse is that, in many cases, the Drug Enforcement Agency is also directly responsible for the deaths of innocent American citizens who had nothing to do with drugs.