• None right now!

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April 10, 2012
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Podcast: Panel Discussion at Open Society Institute

 
Listen to an illuminating discussion about the documentary and drug policy that took place on March 22, 2012 in New York City:

Featured Speakers:

Peter Findlay, Director of Raw Opium
Scott Calbeck, Associate Producer and Researcher for Raw Opium
Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Vanda Felbab-Brown, Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and 2012 Open Society Fellow
Russ Maynard, PHS Community Services Society Program Director

Moderator:

Amy Goodman, investigative journalist and syndicated columnist, author, and host of Democracy Now!

 
Listen to an illuminating discussion about the documentary and drug policy that took place on March 22, 2012 in New York City:

Featured Speakers:

Peter Findlay, Director of Raw Opium
Scott Calbeck, Associate Producer and Researcher for Raw Opium
Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Vanda Felbab-Brown, Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and 2012 Open Society Fellow
Russ Maynard, PHS Community Services Society Program Director

Moderator:

Amy Goodman, investigative journalist and syndicated columnist, author, and host of Democracy Now!

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April 9, 2012
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Director's Review: New York City Premiere

 
"I'll start with the caveat that this was an audience of people invited by the Open Society Foundations who presumably were already favourably predisposed to the messages in the film... and that Americans are often more effusive in their reactions than we more reserved Canadians. But having said that, I'd also have to say that the response to the screening was extremely positive. The best yet."

The evening started with Associate Producer/Researcher of Raw Opium, Scott Calbeck introducing the film to the audience of a hundred invitees. After the screening a panel discussion was moderated by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

Peter Findlay recalled: "Amy Goodman was very much what I was expecting: a genuinely dissident voice among American media. She's also a skilled on-air host and was quite deft in orchestrating the discussion. She started by asking me how we came to the film we'd just seen and I talked about how the research had led us to feel strongly that the film should try to tie together the seemingly disparate issues of addiction, enforcement and politics, in both a personal and global context.

The panelists were first-rate and each one was able to elaborate on very different aspects relating to the film: Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, on the failure of the domestic drug enforcement policy; Vanda Felbab-Brown, Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, on the international dynamics of drug trafficking; and Russ Maynard, PHS Community Services Society Program Director, from Insite on its battles with the feds and the situation on the ground in Vancouver.

...Just a few highlights for me were the spontaneous applause from the audience when Russ told them about Insite's victory at the Supreme Court last year; Neill Franklin's choked-up revelations about how the murder of a close friend/undercover cop he worked with when he was an officer turned him irrevocably against the failed war on drugs; comments from a member of the audience who works in harm reduction in NY who had also worked in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and who said the film brought their shared issues together in a way he'd never seen before; and the response to my final appeal to the audience to help us get the word out about the film, which ended with at least a dozen people directly approaching me after the screening to get cards and ask about getting involved in future screenings in the States.

Clearly the film's interweaving of the various storylines - personal, political, historical - resonated for the audience in exactly the ways we'd hoped for. As I sat watching the film in the dark for the first time with an all-American audience, the centrality of the US in the film, as the engine of the war on drugs both historically and symbolically - and the film's powerful critique of that - really hit me, and I was frankly wondering how the crowd would respond. At least for this group of Americans, Raw Opium hit the target on the head."

 
Raw Opium Director, Peter Findlay, shares his review of Raw Opium's New York City premiere, which was hosted by the International Harm Reduction Development Program of the Open Society Foundations on March 22nd, 2012.
 
Read More.

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April 9, 2012
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Canada's Medical Officers Demand Evidence-Based Drug Policies

 
In a recent commentary for the Open Medicine journal last week, the Chief Medical Officers of British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, highlighted Ottawa’s failed illicit drug policies.

The authors point out that the majority of Canada's $454 million-dollar budget for illicit drug control is spent on law enforcement, with too little reporting and tracking of the results. They also noted that this trend of primarily emphasizing law enforcement in drug policy continues, with the federal government's recent expansion of mandatory minimum prison sentences for minor drug law offences.

"Evidence-based drug treatment programs are cost effective, and significant benefits should be derived, at both individual and societal levels, through an increase in scale," says the commentary. On the author's list of programs are withdrawal programs to manage concurrent mental health and addiction problems, ambulatory and residential treatment centers, opioid substitution therapies and various harm reduction strategies, including needle exchange programs.

The report says: "Canadian society would greatly benefit from a reorienting of its drug policies on addiction - that is, with consideration of addiction as a health issue, rather than primarily a criminal justice issue."

Finally, the authors urge that an informed debate by policy makers needs to take place to increase the relevance of scientific evidence in drug policy decision-making.

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Find the entire commentary here.

 
In a recent commentary for the Open Medicine journal last week, the Chief Medical Officers of British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, highlighted Ottawa’s failed illicit drug policies.
 
Read More.

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March 27, 2012
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Raw Opium Music Trailer

John Findlay is a guitarist, vocalist, song writer and broadcast composer. With over 25 years of experience, he attended the Berklee School of Music studying jazz and classical composition and then went on to become one of Toronto’s most sought after session musicians and composers. He has written award winning commercial scores for clients in Canada, the USA and Europe. His most recent documentary work was for Raw Opium for Kensington Communications Inc.

 Just last week, John Findlay, the music composer for Raw Opium: Pain, Pleasure, Profits, uploaded a musical trailer.
 
Take a listen; Preview the music in the documentary, here.

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March 19, 2012
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New York Premiere & Panel featuring Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! + Special Guests

 
We're very happy to announce that the New York premiere of Raw Opium: Pain, Pleasure, Profits is taking place this Thursday March 22nd and is being hosted by the International Harm Reduction Development Program of the Open Society Foundations.

Along with the screening, a panel of experts will discuss the film and the issues raised. The notable moderator for the panel is independent investigative journalist, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

Neill Franklin, the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a 34-year law enforcement veteran, is also speaking, along with several other experienced and knowledgeable guests and the film director, Peter Findlay.

The screening has a limited capacity and full details can be found on Soros.org.

Speakers

  • Peter Findlay, Director of Raw Opium
  • Scott Calbeck, Associate Producer and Researcher for Raw Opium
  • Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
  • Vanda Felbab-Brown, Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and 2012 Open Society Fellow
  • Russ Maynard, PHS Community Services Society Program Director
  • Amy Goodman, investigative journalist and syndicated columnist, author, and host of Democracy Now! will moderate the discussion.

 
Read more about the special guests at our New York Premiere Screening.
 

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March 18, 2012
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A Slew of Successful Screenings in Canada this Winter

 
Starting in January, the film screened at Peterborough's International Film Festival called ReFrame, and then a few days later for a group of practitioners at the Ontario Harm Reduction Conference in Toronto.

In February the documentary made it to the World Community Festival in Courtenay British Columbia, and in March at Belleville's DownTown DocFest, and for the Elementary Teachers of Toronto at the National Film Board.

Coming up in the months ahead, we hope to bring Raw Opium to groups on the West Coast of the USA, specifically to San Francisco, Seattle and maybe Los Angeles again, before screening the film in Washington DC.

Do you know of any groups we can connect with in these regions, who might be interested in hosting a screening? Let us know. We're always open to making new connections and networking! Reach us for screening inquiries at outreach@rawopium.com

 
Over the last few months, various groups have held screenings of Raw Opium: Pain, Pleasure, Profits across Canada.
 
Click to find out more.

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Insite's Story: Vancouver

August 19, 2011

Romesh's Story: India

August 18, 2011
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