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The Hypocritical Politicians Who Have Used Drugs but Perpetuate Prohibition

In 2010, Release launched a deck of playing cards featuring politicians who perpetuate prohibitionist drug policies despite having admitted to prior drug use. Now it’s time to refresh these cards with some new faces, and we need your help to do so.

The people featured on our cards, men and women from jurisdictions across the world, were chosen because they have inadvertently highlighted the hypocrisy of our approach to drugs. Most of these individuals – including Barack Obama, David Cameron and George W. Bush – would probably have never held public office, let alone lead their country, if they had been prosecuted for the drug offences that they committed. Despite this, all these leaders perpetuated the current approach, whereby anyone found possessing or selling drugs faces criminal penalties.

In 2017, there continue to be hypocritical leaders or lawmakers who acknowledge their own prior drug use while prolonging the imposition of harsh drug laws. None, perhaps, as notorious as Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines. Last December, President Duterte admitted to "abusing" fentanyl, a powerful opioid, despite having instigated the extrajudicial killing of an estimated 9,000 people for alleged drug offences.

The murderous Filipino president will undoubtedly feature on our upcoming pack of cards, but we need some more suggestions for who to include. This is where you come in!

Email us with ideas of who to include; if we choose one of your suggestions, we’ll send you a Release prize package – including a deck of the newly-produced cards and one of our Nice People Take Drugs t-shirts!

Send the following details in an email to Avinash Tharoor at avinash@release.org.uk:

  • The name(s) of your proposed politician(s)
  • Their role/title
  • A quote in which they admit to drug use
  • A link to a reputable online source that verifies the quote

A few rules:

  • The politician(s) you suggest can be from any country or jurisdiction from around the world
  • You can’t suggest anyone who is already on our current deck of cards (see here)
  • You only win a prize if you were the first person to make the suggestion
  • If we pick two (or more) of your suggestions, you only receive one prize package

You have until 10pm on Sunday May 28th to send suggestions. Good luck!

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