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Type of submission: Workshop
Conference track: Advocacy
Topics: Children, Young People and Drug Use; Drug Policy Reform and Advocacy
Presenting author: J Slater
Issue: Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control is an international network of families whose lives have been destroyed by the drug war and who are now campaigning for a new approach. The campaign was established to reclaim the most powerful (and misguided) argument that our opposition has- that a punitive approach to drugs is needed to keep our children safe. It is intended to change hearts and minds, recognising that evidence alone is not sufficient to bring about drug policy reform.
Setting: Anyone’s Child was established in the UK in 2015 and has already grown to include partners in Canada, Belgium, Mexico and Kenya (and informal partnerships in the Philippines, US and Afghanistan). The families involved in the group have an array of stories including bereavement, ill-health and imprisonment. Together their stories show the diverse and direct ways that the war on drugs is negatively impacting on families throughout the globe.
Project: This workshop will be run by representatives from the Anyone’s Child campaign, together they will discuss their experiences of how to message and tell stories to exert pressure on policy makers to change policy.
Outcomes: Our Anyone’s Child campaign has already proven highly effective at gaining serious attention from politicians and the media; the Canadian Health Minister speaking at the UN in 2016 cited visiting one of our family members as a fundamental reason for her wanting to support drug policy reform. We also know it works in the UK. Cabinet Minister, Sajid Javid was recently forced to respond to a parent’s letter only following pressure by the local Birmingham media.
Through the workshop participants will become equipped with the tools, messaging and resources to set up their own public facing campaign based on powerful human narratives.